.g 3a7 /fI -:
Hoisting the signals for triangulation.
EXPLORATION OF THE WORLD
BY JULES VERNE
THE GREAT NAVIGATORS
OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY
TRANSLATED FROM TH21E RERNCH. "
WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY PHILIPPOTEAUX, BENETT, AND MATTHIS, AND MAPS
BY MATTHIS AND MORIEU
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
743 AND 745 BROADWAY
THIS volume forms the second of three volumes under
the general title of CELEBRATED TRAVELS AND TRAVELLERS.
The first volume, already published, is entitled THB
EXPLORATION OF THE WORLD, and covers a period in the
World's History extending from B.C. 505, to the close
of the xviith century. The present volume extends over
the viiith century, and the third volume will give an
account of the GRnaT EXPLORERS AND TRAVELLERS Oi T E
LIST OF WORKS CONSULTED.
ANsoN (Geo., Lord). Voyage round the World in 1740.44."
BARROW (Sir John). "Travels into the Interior of Southern Africa."
BOoGAINVILLB (Com. de). "Voyage round the World, 1766-69." Paris,
BRUCE (James). "Travels in Abyssinia between 1768-73." Edin. 1813.
COOK (Captain James). "Second Voyage to the South Pole and Round the
World, 1772-75." London, 1777.
COOK and KING (Captain James). Third Voyage to the Pacific Ocean,
1776-80." London, 1784.
GROSIER (L'Abbd). "China, General Description of the Empire." Paris,
HAWKESWOBTH (Dr. J.). "Account of the Voyages of Discovery in the
Southern Hemisphere by Commodore Byron, and Captains Wallis, Carteret, and
Cook." London, 1773.
KENNIvY. "New Zealand." London, 1873.
L&BILLARDIRBB (T.). "Voyage in Search of La Pdrouse, 1791-93." Paris,
MAson. "Costumes of China." London, 1800.
PARK (Mungo). "Travels in Africa." London, 1815-16.
PARKINSON (S.). "Voyage to the Sonth Stas." London, 1784.
PiaoN (F.) and FaBrcLNSr (Louis d'), "Voyage to Australasia, 1800-4."
PAROUSE (J. Fr. G. de la). Voyage round the World, 1785.88. Paris,
TRANSACIONS of the French Academy of Sciences," Vol. 7. Paris.
VAILLAIT (Fr. le). "Travels in the Interior of Africa." Paris, 1790.
VANCOUVrz (Capt. G.). "Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean,
and round the World, from 1790-95." London, 1798.
GREAT NAVIGATORS OF THE 18TH CENTURY.
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS AND MAPS
REPRODUCED IN FAC-SIMILE FROM THE ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS,
GIVING THE SOURCES WHENCE THEY ARE DERIVED.
PART THE FIRST.
Hoisting the signals for triangulation
Pierre Louis Morean de Maupertuia .
Selkirk falling over the precipice with his prey .
"I plunged my pike into his breast"
Fight between the Centurion and a Spanish galleon.
"The council chose the latter alternative"
" Most of them on horseback"'. .
"One of them tore the carrion with his teeth" .
" They make a thousand grimaces" .
The natives waving palm-leaves as a sign of welcome
Head-dresses of natives of Otahiti
"Pursued by the arrows of the natives
A struggle between the Swallow and a Malay prah
Portrait of Bougainville. .
" We made them sing" .
Lancers' Island .. .
Pirogue of the Marquesas Islands .
Mdlle. Barrd's adventure .
Captain James Cook .. .
" They were pursued so closely" .
Otahitian flute-player. .
A Fa-toka, New Zealand .
Interior of a moral in Hawaii .
Tatooed head of a New Zealander .
An I-pah .
A New Zealand family .
"They were kangaroos"
Otahitian fleet off Oparee .
"Three Indians emerged from the wood"
Among the icebergs .
New Zealand war canoe .
New Zealand utensils and weapons .
"Who passed his days in being fed by his wives"
X LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS AND MAPS.
0-Too, King of Otaheite 150
Monuments in Easter Island 158
Natives of Easter Island 160
Natives of the Marquesas 162
Typical natives of the Sandwich Islands 164
" The natives had sufficient confidence" 160
" With the roof of considerable height" 172
View of Christmas Sound 174
Kerguelen Islands 180
FAte in Cook's honour at Tonga 186
Human sacrifice at Otahiti *188
Tree, from beneath which Cook observed the transit of Venus 190
Cook's reception by the natives 193
Prince William's Sound 190
"They gave him a little pig" 200
PART THE SECOND.
Pirogues of the Admiralty Islands .214
"Picking up the enemies' weapons" 216
"A lighted brand was also presented to them" 225
" The only one who had escaped" 227
" A man's skull was found 229
Portrait of La Pdrouse 242
Costumes of the inhabitants of Conception 44
Inhabitants of Easter Island .. 246
Typical natives of the Port des Franqais 49
Shipwreck of French boats outside the Port des Franqais 251
" An Indian with a stag's head over his own 253
He traced the coast df Tartary 261
Typical Orotchys .263
Portrait of D'Entrecasteaux 274
"They came upon four natives" 276
F6te in honour of D'Entrecasteaux at the Friendly Islands 285
Typical native of New Holland 287
Natives of New Caledonia .. 289
View of the Island of Bouron 292
Native hut in Endracht Land 304
King of the Island of Timor 30
The Swan River 08
"'A sail was seen on the horizon" 10
" The sick were carried on shore 312
View of Sydney .. 314
Water-carrier at Timor 318
' He received a cordial welcome" ..... 322
Phe Bbab 325
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS AND MAPS. XI
Portrait of Mungo Park 828
Natives of Senegal 880
A Hottentot 842
A Bosjeman ..... .. 844
"Till Master Rees had given his verdict" .. 847
A Kaffir woman .849
Portrait of James Bruce ... 3 852
I found the monarch seated on his throne" 857
Chinese magic-lantern 865
The Emperor of China 867
The great wall of China 869
Chinese Prime Minister 871
"The famous bird Leutz6" .. 73
Port Monterey 3..82
Mackenzie's first view of the North Pacific Ocean 89
Portrait of Condamine .391
Celebrated Narrows of Manseriche .. 393
Omagua Indians 305
Portrait of Alex. de Humboldt 397
Gigantic vegetation on the banks of the Temi 400
Map of France, corrected by order of the King, in accordance with the in-
structions of the Members of the Academy of Sciences 10
Map of the Eastern Hemisphere .26
Straits of Magellan, after Bougainville .. 36
Map of Queen Charlotte Islands. 66
New Zealand 79
Lonisiade Archipelago .. 101
Map of Australia, after Perron's atlas .. .. 125
Map of the east coast of New Holland, after Cook 128
Captain Cook's chart'of Otaheite .. 198
Itinerary of the principal voyagers during the 18th centn, after Cook 202
Map of Surville's discoveries, after Fleurien 212
Map of the journey of La P6rouse, after the atlas published by General
Map of the coast of Asia, after the map of La P6rouse's voyage 258
Map of part of North Africa 820
Map of part of Western Africa 832
Map of North-West America 80
Map of the two Americas .... .. 85
Itinerary of Humboldt's route in equinoctial America 399
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
ASTRONOMERS AND CARTOGRAPHERS.
Cassini, Picard, and La Hire-The Meridian line and the map of France-
G. Delisle and D'Anville-The shape of the earth-Manpertuis in Lap-
land-Condamine at the Equator .
VOYAGES IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
Expedition of Wood Rogers-Adventures of Alexander Selkirk-Gala-
pagos Island-Puerto Seguro-Return to England-Expedition of George
Anson-Staten Island-Juan Fernandez-Tinian-Macao. Taking of the
vessel-Canton river-Results of the Cruise 18
CAPTAIN COOK'S PREDECESSORS.
Roggewein-Scanty information respecting him-The uncertainty of his
discoveries-Easter Island-The Pernicious Islands-Bahama Islands-
New Britain-Arrival at Batavia-Byron-Stay at Rio Janeiro and Port
Desire-Entrance into Magellan's Strait-Falkland Islands and Port
Egmont-The Fuegians--Mas-a-fuero-Disappointmen Islands-Danger
Islands-Tinian-Beturn to Europe 24
Wallis and Carteret-Preparations for the Expedition-Difficult Navigation
of the Strait of Magellan-Separation of the Dauphin and Swallow-
Whitsunday Island-Queen Charlotte's Island-Cumberland and Henry
Islands- Otaheite-Howe, Boscawen, and Keppel Islands-Wallis Islands
-Batavia-The Cape-The Downs-Discovery of Pitcairn, Osnaburgh,
and Gloucester Islands by Carterpt-Santa Cruz Archipelago-Solomon
Island-St. George's Strait and New Ireland-Portland Island and the
Admiralty Islands-Macassar and Batavia-Meeting with Bougainville
in the Atlantic 44
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
Bougainville-Changes in the life of a Notary's son-Colonization of the
Falkland Islands-Buenos Ayres and Rio Janiero-Cession of the Falkland
Islands to Spain-Hydrographical Survey of the Straits of Magellan-
The Peoherais-The Four Facardins-Otaheite-Incidents of stay there-
Productions of the country and manners of the people-Samoan Islands-
Tierra del Santo Espirito or the New Hebrides-The Louisiade-Ancho-
rite Island--New Guinea-Buotan-From Batavia to St. Malo 71
COOK'S FIRST VOYAGE.
The beginning of his maritime career-The command of the Adventure
entrusted to him-Tierra del Fuego-Discovery of some islands in the
Pomotou Archipelago-Arrival at Otaheite-Manners and Customs of
the inhabitants-Discovery of other islands in the Society group-
Arrival off New Zealand-Interview with the natives-Discovery of
Cook's Strait-Circumnavigation of two large islands-Manners of the
people and productions of the country 100
Survey of the Elstern Coast of Australia-Botany Bay-Wreck of the
.Endeavour-Crosiin Torres Straits-Return to England 125
CAPTAIN COOK'S SECOND VOYAGE.
Search for the Unknown-Second stay in New Zealand-Pomotou Archipe-
lago-Second Stay at Otaheite-Survey of Tonga Islands-Third stay in
New Zealand-Second crossing of the Pacific-Survey of Easter Island-
Visit to the Marquesas 135
Fresh visit to Otaheite and the Friendly Archipelago-Exploration of the
New Hebrides-Discovery of New Caledonia and the Island of Pines-
Stay in Queen Charlotte's Strait-South Georgia-Accident to the Adven-
ture .. 160
O'APT&IN COOK'S THIRD VOYAGE.
Search for lands discovered by the French-Stay in Van Diemen's land-
Queen Charlotte's Strait-Palmerston Island-Grand fates at the Tonga
Discovery of the Sandwich Islands-Exploration of the Western Coast of
America-From thence to Behring Straits-Return to the Hawaian
Archipelago-History of Bono-Cook's death-Return of the Expedition
to England .... .192
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
Discoveries by Bouvet de Lozier in the Southern Seas-Surville-Lnnd of
the Arsacides-Incident during the stay at Port Praslin-Arrival off the
Coast of New Ireland-Surville's death-Marion's discoveries in the
Antartic Ocean-His massacre in New Zealand-Kerguelen in Iceland
and the Arctic Regions-The Contest of the Watches-Fleurien and
Verdun de la Crenne 209
Expedition under command of La Perouse-St. Catherine's Island-Con-
ception Island-Sandwich Islands-Survey of the American Coast-Fort
des Frangais-Loss of two boats-Monterey and the Indians of California
-Stay at Macao-Cavite and Manilla-En route for China and Japan-
Formosa-Quelpaert Island-The Coast of Tartary-Ternay Bay-The
Tartars of Saghalien-The Orotchys-Straits of La Perouse-Ball at
Kamtchatka-Navigator Archipelago-Massacre of M. de Langle and
several of his companions-Botany Bay-Cessation of news of the expedi-
tion-D'Entrecasteaux sent in search of La Perouse-False News-Strait
of lEntrecasteaux-The Coast of New Caledonia-Land of the Arsacides
-Natives of Bouka-Stay at Port Carteret-Admiralty Islands-Stay at
Amboine-Lewin Land-Nuyts Land-Stay in Tasmania-Fete in the
Friendly Islands-Details of La Perouse's visit to Tonga Tabou-Stay
at Balado-Traces of La Perouse's Voyage to New Caledonia-Vanikoro
-Sad end of the Expedition 241
Voyage by Captain Marchand-The Marquesas-Discovery of Nouka-Hiva
-Manners and Customs of the people-Revolution Islands-The Ameri-
can Coast and Tchinkitana Port-Cox's Straits-Stay in the Sandwich
Islands-Macao-Deception-Return to France-Discoveries by Bass
and Flinders upon the Australian coast-Expedition under Captain
Baudin-Endracht and De Witt Lands-Stay at Timor-Survey of Van
Diemen's land-Separation of the Gdographe and Naturaliste-Stay at
Port Jackson-The Convicts-Pastoral riches of New South Wales-
Return of the Naturaliste to France-Cruises by the Gdograpke and
Casuarina to Nuyts, Edels, Endracht and De Witt Lands-Second Stay
at Timor-Return to France 294
Shaw in Algeria and Tunis-Hornemann in the Fezzan-Adanson in Senegal
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
-Houghton in Senegambia--Mngo Park and his two journeys to the
Djoliba or Niger-Sego and Timbcntoo-Sparmann and Le Vaillant at the
Cape, at Natal, and in the interior-Lacerda at Mozambique and Cazemb6
-Bruce in AbyMsinia-The Sources of the Blue Nile-Tzana Lake-
Browne's Voyage in Darfur 820
ASTA AND ITS INHABITANTS.
Tartary according to Witzen-China according to the Jesuits and Dn Halde
-Macartney in China-Stay at Chu-Sang-Arrival in Nankin-Nego.
tiations-Reception of the Embassy by the Emperor-F6tes and cere-
monies at Zh6 Hol-Return to Pekin, and Europe-Volney-Choiseul-
Gouffler-Le Chevalier in the Troade-Olivier in Persia-A semi-Asiatio
country-Russia according to Pallas 361
THE TWO AMERICAS.
The Western Coast of America-Juan de Fuca and De Fonte-The three
voyages of Behring and Vancouver-The exploration of the Straits of De
Fuca-Survey of the Archipelago of New Georgia and a portion of the
American Coast-Exploration of the interior of America-Samuel Hearn
-Discovery of the Coppermine River-Mackenzie, and the river named
after him-Fraser River -Journey of Humboldt and De Bonpland-
Teneriffe-Gunchero cavern-The "Llafios--The electric eels-The
Amazon, Negro, and Orinoco rivers-The earth-eaters-Results of the
journey-IIumboldt's second journey-The Volcanitos, or Little Volcanoes
-The cascade at Tequendama-The bridges of Icononzo-Crossing the
Quindiu on men's backs-Quito and the Pinchincha-Ascent of Cbimborazo
-The Andes-Lima-The transit of Mercury-Exploration of Mexico-
Mexico-Puobla and Cofre de Perote--Rturn to Europe .380
ASTRUNOMERS AND OARTOGRAPHEIS.
Cassini-Pioard and La Hire-The are of the Meridian and the Map of France
-G. Delisle and D'Anville-The Shape of the Earth-Maupertuia in
Lapland-Condamine at the Equator.
BEFORE we enter upon a recital of the great expeditions of the eigh-
teenth century, we shall do well to chronicle the immense progress
made during that period by the sciences. They rectified a crowd of
prejudices and established a solid basis for the labours of astrono-
mers and geographers. If we refer them solely to the matter
before us, they radically modified cartography, and ensured for
navigation a security hitherto unknown.
Although Galileo had observed the eclipses of Jupiter's satellites as
early as 1610, his important discovery had been rendered useless by
the indifference of Governments, the inadequacy of instruments,
and the mistakes committed by his followers.
In 1660 Jean Dominique Cassini published his "Tables of the
Satellites of Jupiter," which induced Colbert to send for him the
following year, and which obtained for him the superintendence of
the Paris Observatory.
In the month of July, 1671, Philippe de la Hire went to Urani-
borg in the Island of Huen, to take observations for the situation
of Tycho Brahe's Observatory. In that spot he calculated with
the assistance of Cassini's Tables, and with an exactitude never
before obtained, the difference between the longitudes of Paris and
The Academy of Sciences sent the astronomer Jean Richter the
same year to Cayenne, to study the parallaxes of the sun and
moon, and to determine the distance of Mars and Venus from
the earth. This voyage, which was entirely successful, was at-
tended with unforeseen consequences, and resulted in inquiries
shortly after entered into as to the shape of the earth.
Richter noticed that the pendul um lost two minutes, twenty-eight
4 THE GREAT NAVIGATORS OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
seconds at Cayenne, which proved that the momentum was less at
this place than at Paris. From this fact, Newton and Huyghens de-
duced the flatness of the Globe at thePoles. Shortly afterwards, how-
ever, the computation of a terrestrial degree given by Abb6 Picard,
and the determination of the Meridional arc, arrived at by the Cas-
sinis, father and son, led scientific men to an entirely different result,
and induced them to consider the earth an elliptical figure, elon-
gated towards the polar regions. Passionate discussions arose from
this decision, and in them originated immense undertakings, from
which astronomical and mathematical geography profited.
Picard undertook to estimate the space contained between the
parallels of Amiens and Malvoisine, which comprises a degree and a
third. The Academy, however, decided that a more exact result
could be obtained by the calculation of a greater distance, and de-
termined to portion out the entire length of France, from north to
south, in degrees. For this purpose, they selected the meridian line
which passes the Paris Observatory. This gigantic trigonometrical
undertaking was commenced twenty years before the end of the
seventeenth century, was interrupted, and recommended, and
finally finished towards 1720.
At the same time Louis XIV., urged by Colbert, gave orders for
the preparation of a map of France. Men of science undertook
voyages from 1679 to 1682, and by astronomical observations found
the position of the coasts on the Ocean and Mediterranean. But
even these undertakings, Picard's computation of the Meridional arc,
the calculations which determined the latitude and longitude of
certain large cities in France, and a map which gave the environs
of Paris in detail with geometrical exactitude, were still insufficient
data for a map of France.
As in the measurement of the Meridional arc, the only course to
adopt was to cover the whole extent of the country with a network
of triangles. Such was the basis of the large map of France
which justly bears the name of Cassini.
The result of the earlier observations of Cassini and La Hire
was to restrict France within much narrower limits than had
hitherto been assigned to her.
Desborough Cooley in his "History of Voyages," says, "They
deprived her (France) of several degrees of longitude in the length
of her western coast, from Brittany to the Bay of Biscay. And in
ASTRONOMERS AND CARTOGRAPHERS.
the same way retrenched about half a degree from Languedoo and
La Provence. These alterations gave rise to a bon-mot." Louis
the XIV., in complimenting the Academicians upon their return,
remarked, "I am sorry to see, gentlemen, that your journey has
cost me a good part of my kingdom I "
So far, however, cartographers had ignored the corrections made
by astronomers. In the middle of the seventeenth century, Peireso
and Gassendi had corrected upon the maps of the Mediterranean a
difference of five hundred miles of distance between Marseilles
and Alexandria. This important rectification was set aside as non-
existent until the hydrographer, Jean Matthieu de Chazelled,
who had assisted Cassini in his labours, was sent to the Levant to
draw up a coast-chart for the Mediterranean.
"It was sufficiently clear," say the Memoirs of the Academy of
Sciences, that the maps unduly extended the Continents of Europe,
Africa, and America, and narrowed the Pacific Ocean between Asia
and Europe. These errors had caused singular mistakes. During
M. de Chaumont's voyage, when he went as Louis XIV.'s ambas-
sador to Siam, the pilots, trusting to their charts, were mistaken in
their calculations, and both in going and in returning went a good
deal further than they imagined. In proceeding from the Cape
of Good Hope to the island of Java they imagined themselves a
long way from the Strait of Sunda, when in reality they were more
than sixty leagues beyond it. And they were forced to put back
for two days with a favourable wind to enter it. In the same way
upon their return voyage from the Cape of Good Hope to France,
they found themselves at the island of Flores, the most western of
the Azores, when they conceived themselves to be at least a hundred
and fifty leagues eastward of it. They were obliged to navigate
for twelve days in an easterly direction in order to reach the French
coast. As we have already said, the corrections made in the map of
France were considerable. It was recognized that Perpignan and
Collioures more especially were far more to the east than had been
supposed. To gain a fair idea of the alteration, one has only to
glance at the map of France published in the first part of the
seventh volume of the memoirs of the Academy of Sciences. All
the astronomical observations to which we have called attention
are noted in it, and the original outline of the map, published
by Sanson in 1679, makes the modification apparent.
6 THE GREAT NAVIGATORS OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
Cansini was right in saying that cartography was no longer at
its height as a science. In reality, Sanson had blindly followed the
longitudes of Ptolemy, without taking any note of astronomical
observations. His sons and grandsons had simply re-edited his
maps as they were completed, and other geographers followed the
William Delisle was the first to construct new maps, and to
make use of modern discoveries. He arbitrarily rejected all that
had been done before his time. His enthusiasm was so great that
he had entirely carried out his project at the age of twenty-five.
His brother, Joseph Nicolas, who taught astronomy in Russia,
sent William materials for his maps. At the same time his younger
brother, Delisle de la Cey6re, visited the coast of the Arctic Ocean,
and astronomically fixed the position of the most important points.
He embarked on board De Behring's vessel and died at Kamtchatka.
That was the work of the three Delisles, but to William belongs
the glory of having revolutionized geography.
"He succeeded," says Cooley, in reconciling ancient and modern
computations, and in collecting an immense mass of documents.
Instead of limiting his corrections to any one quarter of the earth,
he directed them to the entire globe. By this means he earned
the right to be considered the founder of modern geography.
Peter the Great, on his way to Paris, paid a tribute to his merit
by visiting him, and placing at his disposal all the information he
himself possessed of the geography of Russia.
Could there be a more conclusive testimony to his worth than
this from a stranger P and if French geographers are excelled in
these days by those of Germany and England, is it not consolatory
and encouraging to them to know, that they have excelled in a
science, in which they are now struggling to regain their former
Delisle lived to witness the success of his pupil, J. B. d'Anville.
If the latter is inferior to Adrinn Valois in the matter of
historical science, he deserved his high fame for the relative
improvement of his outlines, and for the clear and artistic appear-
ance of his maps.
"It is difficult," says M. E. Desjardins, in his "Geographie
de la Gaule Romaine," "to understand the slight importance
which has been attributed to his works as a geographer, mathe-
Pierre Louis Moreau de Maupertuis.
ASTRONOMERS AND CARTOGRAPHERS.
matioian, and draughtsman." The latter more especially do justice
to his great merit. D'Anville was the first to construct a map by
scientific methods, and that of itself is sufficient glory. In the
department of historical geography. D'Anville exhibited unusual
good sense in discussion, and a marvellous topographical instinct
for identifications, but it is well to remember that he was neither
a man of science, nor even well versed in classic authorities. His
most beautiful work is his map of Italy, the dimensions of which,
hitherto exaggerated, extended from the east to the west in accord-
ance with the ideas of the ancients.
In 1735, Philip Buache, whose name as a geographer is justly
celebrated, inaugurated a new method in his chart of the depths of
the English Channel, by using contour levels to represent the
variations of the soil.
Ten years later d'Aprbs De Mannevillette published his "Neptune
Oriental," in which he rectified the charts of the African, Chinese,
and Indian coasts. He added to it a nautical guide, which was
the more precious at this period, as it was the first of the kind.
Up to the close of his life he amended his manual, which served as
a guide for all French naval officers during the latter part of the
Of English astronomers and physicists, Hally was the chief.
He published a theory of Magnetic Variations," and a History of
the Monsoons, which gained for him the command of a vessel,
that he might put his theory into practice.
That which D'Apres achieved for the French, Alexander
Dalrymple accomplished for the English. His views, however,
bordered on the hypothetical, and he believed in the existence of
an Antarctic Continent.
He was succeeded by Horsburgh, whose name is justly dear to
We must now speak of two important expeditions, which ought
to have settled the animated discussion as to the shape of the earth.
The Academy of Sciences had despatched a mission to America, to
compute the arc of the meridian at the Equator. It was composed
of Godin, Bouguer, and La Condamine.
It was decided to entrust a similar expedition to the North to
If," said this scientific man, the flatness of the earth be not
8 THE GREAT NAVIGATORS OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
greater then Huyghens supposed, the margin between the degrees
of the meridian measured in France, and the first degrees of the
meridian near the Equator, would not be too considerable to be
attributed to possible errors of the observers, or to the imperfection
of instruments. But, if the observation can be made at the Pole,
the difference between the first degree of the meridian nearest the
equatorial line,-and, for example, the sixty-sixth degree, which
crosses the polar circle, will be great enough, even by Huyghens'
hypothesis, to show itself irresistibly, and beyond the possibility of
miscalculation, because the difference would be repeated just as
many times as there are intermediate degrees.
The problem thus neatly propounded ought to have obtained a
ready solution both at the Pole and the Equator-a solution which
would have settled the discussion, by proving Huyghens and
Newton to be right.
The expedition embarked in a vessel equipped at Dunkerque.
In addition to Maupertuis, it comprised De Clairaut, Camus, and
Lemonnier. Academicians, Albey Outhier, canon of Bayeux, a
secretary named Sommereux, a draughtsman, Herbelot, and the
scientific Swedish astronomer, Celsius.
When the King of Sweden received the members of the mission
at Stockholm, he said to them, "I have been in many bloody
battles, bat I should prefer finding myself in the midst of the most
sanguinary, rather than join your expedition."
Certainly, it was not likely to prove a party of pleasure. The
learned adventurers were to be tested by difficulties of every
kind, by continued privation, by excessive cold. But what com-
parison can be made between their sufferings, and the agonies,
the trials and the dangers which were to be encountered by
the Arctic explorers, Ross, Parry, Hall, Payer, and many
Damiron in his Eulogy of Maupertuis, says, "The houses at
Tornea, north of the Gulf of Bothnia, almost in the Arctic Circle,
are hidden under the snow. When one goes out, the air seems to
pierce the lungs, the increasing degrees of frost are proclaimed by
the incessant crackling of the wood, of which most of the houses
are built. From the solitude which reigns in the streets, one
might fancy that the inhabitants of the town were dead. At every
step one meets mutilated figures, people who have lost arms
ASTRONOMERS AND CARTOGRAPHERS.
or legs from the terrible severity of the temperature. And yet,
the travellers did not intend pausing at Tornea."
Now-a-days these portions of the globe are better known, and
the region of the Arctic climate thoroughly appreciated, which
makes it easier to estimate the difficulties the inquirers encoun-
They commenced their operations in July, 1736. Beyond
Tornea they found only uninhabited regions. They were obliged
to rely upon their own resources for scaling the mountains, where
they placed the signals intended to form the uninterrupted
series of triangles.
Divided into two parties in order thus to obtain two measure-
ments instead of one, and thereby also to diminish the chance of
mistakes, the adventurous savants, after inconceivable hairbreadth
escapes, of which an account can be found in the Memoirs of the
Academy of Sciences for 1737, and after incredible efforts, decided
that the length of the meridian circle, comprised between the paral-
lels of Tornea and Kittis was 55,023 fathoms and a half. Thus
below the Polar circle, the meridian degree comprised a thousand
fathoms more than Cassini had imagined, and the terrestrial degree
exceeded by 377 fathoms the length which Picard has reckoned it
between Paris and Amiens.
The result, therefore, of this discovery (a result long repudiated
by the Cassinis, both father and son), was that the earth was con-
siderably flattened at the poles.
Voltaire somewhat maliciously said of it,-
Courrier de la physique, argonaute nouveau,
Qui, fr.mchissant les months, qui, traversant lea eaux,
Ramenez des climates sonmis aux trois conronnes,
Vos perches, vos secteurs et surtout deux Laponnes.
Vous avez confirm dans ces lieux pleins d'ennui
Ce que Newton connut sane sortir de ui.
In much the same vein he alludes to the two sisters who accom-
panied Maupertuis upon his return, the attractions of one of whom
Cette erreur eat trop ordinaire
Et e'est la seule que 'on fit
En allant an cerele polaire.
10 THE GREAT NAVIGATORS OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
M. A. Maury in his "History of the Academy of Sciences," re-
"At the same time, the importance of the instruments and
methods employed by the astronomers sent to the North, afforded a
support to the defenders of the theory of the flattening of the
globes, which was hardly theirs by right, and in the following
century the Swedish astronomer, Svanburg, rectified their involun-
tary exaggerations, in a fine work published by him in the French
Meantime the mission despatched by the Academy to Peru pro-
ceeded with analogous operations. It consisted of La Condamine,
Bouguer, and Godin, three Academicians, Joseph de Jussieu,
Governor of the Medical College, who undertook the botanical
branch, Seniergues, a surgeon, Godin des Odonais, a clock-maker,
and a draughtsman. They started from La Rochelle, on the 16th
of May, 1635.
Upon reaching St. Domingo, they took several astronomical
observations, and continued by way of Porto Bello, and Carthagena.
Grossing the Isthmus of Panama, they disembarked at Manta in
Peru, upon the 9th of March, 1736.
Arrived there, Bouguer and Condamine parted from their
companions, studied the rapidity of the pendulum, and finally
reached Quito by different routes. Condamine pursued his way
along the coast, as far as Rio de las Esmeraldas, and drew the
map of the entire country, which he traversed with such infinite
toil. Bonguer went southwards towards Guayaquil, passing
through marshy forests, and reaching Caracol at the foot of the
Cordillera range of the Andes, which he was a week in crossing.
This route had been previously taken by Alvarado, when seventy
of his followers perished; amongst them, the three Spaniards
who had attempted to penetrate to the interior. Bouguer. reached
Quito on the 10th of June. At that time this city contained
between thirty and forty thousand inhabitants, and boasted of an
episcopal president of the Assembly, and numbers of religious
communities, besides two colleges,
Living there was cheap, with the exception of foreign mer-
chandises, which realized exorbitant prices, so much so indeed, that
a glass goblet fetched from eighteen to twenty francs.
The adventurers scaled the Pichincha, a mountain near Quito,
_0 CEA. L A '' FLANDR
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OC CI = srIrfoMA
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Map of France, corrected by order of the King.
ASTRONOMERS AND CARTOGRAPHERS.
the eruptions from which had more than once been fatal to the
inhabitants, but they were not slow in discovering that they could
not succeed in carrying their implements to the summit of the
mountains, and that they must be satisfied with placing the signals
upon the hills.
"An extraordinary phenomena may be witnessed almost every
day upon the summit of these mountains," said Bouguer in the
account he read before the Academy of Sciences," which is probably
as old as the world itself, but what it appeared was never wit-
nessed by any one before us. We first remarked it when we were
altogether upon a mountain called Pamba Marca. A cloud in
which we had been enveloped, and which dispersed, allowed us a
view of the rising sun, which was very brilliant. The cloud
passed on, it was scarcely removed thirty paces when each of us
distinguished his own shadow reflected above him, and saw only
his own, because the cloud presented a broken surface.
"The short distance allowed us fully to recognize each part of
the shadow; we distinguished the arms, the legs, the head, but we
were most amazed at finding that the latter was surrounded by a
glory, or aureole formed of two or three small concentric crowns
of a very bright colour, containing the same variety of hues as
the rainbow, red being the outer one. The spaces between the
circles were equal, the last circle the weakest, and in the far
distance, we perceived one large white one, which surrounded the
whole. It produced the effect of a transfiguration upon the
The instruments employed by these scholars were not as accu-
rate as more modern ones, and varied with changes of temperature,
in consequence of which, they were forced to proceed most care-
fully, and with most minute accuracy, lest small errors accumu-
lating should end by leading to greater ones. Thus, in their
trigonometrical surveys Bouguer and his associates never calculated
the third angle by the observation of the two first, but always
observed all three.
Having calculated the number of fathoms contained in thp extent
of country surveyed, the next point was to discover what part
this was of the earth's circumference, which could only be ascer-
tained by means of astronomical observations.
After numerous obstacles, which it is impossible to give in
12 THE GREAT NAVIGATORS O7F THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
detail, after curious discoveries, as for example the attraction
exercised on the pendulum by mountains, the French inquirers
arrived at conclusions which fully confirmed the result of the
expedition to Lapland. They did not all return to France at
the same time.
Jussiou continued his search after facts in natural history, and
La Oondamine decided to return by way of the Amazon River,
making an important voyage, to which we shall have occasion to
ASTRONOMERS AND CARTOGRAPHERS.
TnE war of the Spanish succession was at its height, when some
privateers of Bristol determined to fit out ships to attack the
Spanish vessels, in the Pacific Ocean, and to devastate the coasts of
South America. The two vessels chosen, the Duke and Duchess,
under Captains Rogers and Courtenay, were carefully equipped,
and stocked with everything necessary for so long a voyage, the
famous Dampier, who had acquired a great reputation by his
daring adventures and piracies, did not disdain to accept the title
of chief pilot, and although this trip was richer in material results
than in geographical discoveries, the account of it contains a few
curious particulars worthy of preservation.
The Duke and Duchess set sail from the Royal Port of Bristol
on the 2nd April, 1708. To begin with, we may note one interest-
ing fact. Throughout the voyage a register was at the service of
the crew, in which all the incidents of the voyage were to be noted,
so that the slightest errors, and the most insignificant oversights
could be rectified before the facts of the case faded from memory.
Nothing of note occurred on this voyage till the 22nd December,
when the Falkland Islands, previously noticed by few navigators,
were discovered. Rogers did not land on them, but contented
himself with observing that the coast, although less precipitous,
resembled that of Portland.
All the hills," he added, with their well-wooded and gradually
sloping sides, appeared fertile, and the shore is not wanting in
Now these islands do not possess a single tree, and the good
harbours, as we shall presently see, are anything but numerous,
so we can judge of the exactitude of the observations made by
Rogers. Navigators have done well not to trust to them.
After passing this archipelago the two vessels steered due
14 THE GREAT NAVIGATORS OP THE EIGBTEENTH CENTURY.
south, and penetrated as far as south lat. 600 58'. Here, there
was no night, the cold was intense, and the sea so rough that the
Duchess sustained a few injuries., The chief officers of the two
vessels assembled in council, agreed that it would be better not
to attempt to go further south, and the course was changed for
the west. On the 15th January, 1709, Cape Horn is said to have
been doubled, and the southern ocean entered.
Up to this date the position of the island of Juan Fernandez,
was differently given on nearly all maps, and Wood Rogers, who
intended to harbour there, take in water, and get a little fresh
meat, came upon it almost unawares.
On the 1st February, he embarked in a little boat to try and
find an anchorage. Whilst his people were awaiting his return,
a large fire was noticed on shore.. Had some Spanish or French
vessels cast anchor here P Would it be necessary to fight for the
water and food required ? Every preparation was made during
the night, but in the morning no ship was in sight. Conjectures
were already being hazarded as to whether the enemy had retired,
when the end was put to all surmises by the return of the boat,
bringing in it a man clad in goatskins, whose personal appear-
ance was yet more savage than his garments.
It was a Scotch mariner, Alexander Selkirk by name, who in
consequence of a quarrel with the captain of his ship, had been
left on this desert island four years and a half before. The fire
which had attracted notice had been lighted by him.
During his stay on the island of Juan Fernandez, Selkirk had
seen many vessels pass, but only two, both Spanish, had cast
anchor. Discovered by the sailors, Selkirk had been fired upon,
and only escaped death by the agility with which he managed to
climb into a tree and hide.
He told how he had been put ashore with his clothes, his bed,
a pound of powder, some bullets, a little tobacco, a hatchet, a
knife, a kettle, a Bible, with a few other devotional books, his
nautical instruments and books.
Poor Selkirk provided for his wants as best he could, but during
the first few months he had great difficulty in conquering the
sadness and mastering the horror consequent upon his terrible
loneliness. He built two huts of willow, which he covered with
a sort of rush, and lined with the skins of the goats he killed to
Selkirk falling over the precipice with his prey.
ASTRONOMERS A2 CARTOGRAPHERS.
satisfy his hunger, so long as his ammunition lasted. When it
was likely to fail, he managed to strike a light by rubbing two
pieces of pimento wood together. When he had quite exhausted
his ammunition, he caught the goats as they ran, his agility had
become so great by dint of constant exercise, that he scoured the
woods, rocks, and hills, with a perfectly incredible speed. We
had sufficient proof of his skill, when he went hunting with us..
He outran and exhausted our best hunters, and an excellent dog
which we had on board; he easily caught the goats, and brought
them to us on his back. He himself related to us, that one day
he chased his prey so eagerly to the edge of a precipice, which
was concealed by bushes, that they rolled over and over together,
until they reached the bottom. He lost consciousness through that
fall, and upon discovering that the goat lay under him quite dead,
after remaining where he was for twenty-four hours, he with
the utmost difficulty succeeded in crawling to his cabin, which
was about a mile distant; and he was unable to walk again for
This deserted wretch managed to season his food with the turnips
sown by the crew of a ship, with cabbages, capsicums, and all-
spice. When his clothes and shoes were worn out, a process
which occupied but a short time, he ingeniously constructed new
ones of goatskin, sewing them together with a nail, which served
him as a needle. When his knife was useless, he constructed a
new one from the cask-hoops he found on the shore. 'He had so
far lost the use of speech, that he could only make himself under-
stood by an effort. Rogers took him on board, and appointed
him boatswain's mate.
Selkirk was not the first sailor abandoned upon the island of
Juan Fernandez. It may be remembered that Dampier had al-
ready rescued an unfortunate Mosquito man, who was abandoned
from 1681 to 1684. Sharp and other buccaneers have related
that the sole survivor of a crew of a vessel wrecked on this coast,
lived there for five years, until he was rescued by another ship.
Saintine, in his recent novel, "Alone," has detailed Selkirk's
Upon the 14th of February, the Duke and Duchess left Juan
Fernandez, and commenced their operations against the Spaniards.
Rogers seized Guayaquil, for which he obtained a large ransom,
16 THE GREAT NAVIGATORS OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
and captured several vessels, which, however, provided him with
more prisoners than money.
This part of his voyage concerns us but little, and a few par-
ticulars only are interesting, as, for instance, his mention of a
monkey in the Gorgus Island, who was so lazy, that he was
nicknamed the Sluggard, and of the inhabitants of Tecamez, who
repulsed the new-comers with poisoned arrows, and guns. He
also speaks of the Galapagos Island, situated two degrees of northern
latitude. According to Rogers, this cluster of islands was
numerous, but out of them all one only provided fresh water.
Turtle-doves existed there in great quantities, and tortoises, and
sea-turtles, of an extraordinary size abounded, thence the name
given by the Spaniards to this group.
Sea-dogs also were common, one of them had the temerity to
attack Rogers. I was walking along the shore," he says, when
it left the water, his jaws gaping, as quickly and ferociously as
a dog escaping from his chain. Three times he attacked me, I
plunged my pike into his breast, and each time I inflicted such
a wound that he fled howling horribly. Finally, turning towards
me, he stopped to growl and show his fangs. Scarcely twenty-
four hours earlier, one of my crew had narrowly escaped being
devoured by a monster of the same family."
In December, Rogers repaired to Puerto Seguro, upon the
Californian coast, with a Manilla galleon, which he had seized.
Many of his men penetrated to the interior; he found large forest
trees, but not the slightest appearance of culture, although smoke
indicated the existence of inhabitants.
The inhabitants, according to Albey Presort's "History of
Voyages," were straight built and powerful, blacker than any
Indian tribe hitherto met with in the Pacific Ocean Seas: They
had long black hair plaited, which reached below the waist. All
the men went about naked, but the women wore a garment, either
composed of leaves or of stuff made from them, and sometimes
the skins of beasts and birds. Occasionally they wore necklaces
and bracelets made of bits of wood or shells. Others adorned
their necks with small red berries and pearls. Evidently they
did not know how to pierce holes in them, for they notched them
and joined them by a thread. They valued these ornaments so
highly, that they refused to change them for English necklaces
" I plunged my pike into his breast."
ASTRONOMERS AND CARTOGRAPHERS.
of glass. Their chief anxiety was to obtain knives and useful
The Duke and Duchess left Porto Segura on the 12th January,
1710, and reached the island of Guaham, of the Mariannes, in the
course of two months. Here they revictualled, and passing by the
Straits of Boutan and Saleyer, reached Batavia. After a necessary
delay at the latter place, and at the Cape of Good Hope, Rogers
cast anchor in the Downs upon the 1st of October.
In spite of Rogers' reticence with regard to the immense
riches he brought with him, a good idea of their extent may be
gathered from the account of ingots, vessels of silver and 'gold,
and pearls, with which he delighted the shipowners.
We now come to our account of Admiral Anson's voyage, which
almost belongs to the category of naval warfare, but with it we
may close the list of piratical expeditions, which dishonoured the
victors without ruining the vanquished. And if he brought no
new acquisition to geography, his account teams with judicious
observations, and interesting remarks about a country then little
The merit of them, however, if we are to believe Nichols' Literary
anecdotes, rests rather with Benjamin Robins, than, as the title
would appear to indicate, witl the chaplain of the expedition,
George Anson was born in Staffordshire in 1697. A sailor from
his childhood, he early brought himself into notice.
He was already well known as a clever and fortunate captain,
when in 1739 he was offered the command of a squadron. It
consisted of the Centurion, 60 guns, the Gloucester and Severe,
each 50 guns, the Pearl, 40 guns, the Wager, 28 guns. To it were
attached also the sloop Trial, and two transports carrying food and
ammunition. In addition to the crew of 1460, a reinforcement
of 470 marines was added to the fleet.
Leaving England on the 18th September, 1740, the expedition
proceeded by way of Madeira, past the island of St. Oatharine,
along the Brazilian coast, by St. Julian Harbour, and finally
crossed the Strait of Lemaire.
Terrible," said the narrative, as the aspect of Tierra del Fuego
may be, that of Staten Island is more horrible still. It con-
sists of a series of inaccessible rocks, crowned with sharp point&
VOL. n. o
18 THE GREAT NAVIGATORS OP THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
Prodigiously high, they are covered with eternal snow, and edged
with precipices. In short, it is impossible to conceive anything
more deserted, or more wild than this region."
Scarcely had the last vessels of the squadron filed through the
strait, than a series of heavy gales, squalls, and storms, caused the
oldest sailors to vow that all they had hitherto known of tempests
wore nothing in comparison.
This fearful experience lusted seven weeks without intermission.
It is needless to state that the vessels sustained great damage, that
many men were swept away by the waves, numbers destroyed by
illnesses occasioned by the exposure to constant damp, and want
of sufficient nourishment.
Two of the vessels, the Severe and the Pearl, were engulfed,
and four others were lost sight of. Anson was unable to reach
Valdivia, the rendezvous he had selected in case of separation;
carried far to the north, he could only arrest his course at Juan
Fernandez, which he reached upon the 9th of June.
The Centurion had the greatest need of rest. She had lost eighty
of her crew, her supply of water had failed, and the sailors were
so weakened by scurvy, that ten only of the remaining number
were available for the watch. The other vessels, in an equally
bad plight, were not long in regaining her.
The first care was to restore the exhausted crews, and to repair
the worst injuries sustained by the vessels. Anson sent the sick
on shore and installed them in a sheltered hospitalin the open air,
then putting himself at the head of the most enterprising sailors,
he scoured the entire island, and thoroughly examined its roads
and shores. The best anchorage, according to his report, was in
Cumberland Bay. The south-eastern portion of Juan Fernandez,
a little island scarcely five leagues by two in extent, is dry,
rocky, treeless; the ground lies low, and is level in comparison
with the northern portion. It produces water-creases, purslain,
sorrels, turnips, and Sicilian radishes in abundance, as well as oats
and clover. Anson sowed carrots and lettuces, and planted plums,
apricots, and peaches. He soon discovered that the number of
goats, left by the buccaneers, and which had multiplied marvel-
lously, had since decreased.
The Spaniards, eager to deprive their enemies of this valuable
resource, had let loose a quantity of famished dogs upon the island,
ASTRONOMERS AND CARTOGRAPHERS.
who chased the goats, and devoured so many of them, that, at the
time of Anson's visit, scarcely two hundred remained. The Com-
modore, for so Anson is always called in the narrative of this
voyage, reconnoitered the Island of Mas a Fuero, which is only
twenty-five leagues west of Juan Fernandez. Smaller than the
latter, it is more wooded, better watered, and possessed more
At the beginning of December, the crews were sufficiently
recovered for Anson to put into execution his projected attack
upon the Spaniards. He commenced by seizing several ships laden
with precious merchandise and ingots, and then set fire to the
city of Paita. Upon this occasion the Spaniards estimated their
loss at one and a half million piastres.
Anson then proceeded to Quibo Bay, near Panama, to lie in
wait for the galleon which, every year, transported the treasures of
the Philippine Islands to Acapulco. There, although the English
met with no inhabitants in the miserable huts, they found heaps
of shells and beautiful mother of pearl left there during the
summer months by the fishermen of Panama. In mentioning the
resources of this place, we must not omit the immense turtles,
which usually weighed two hundred pounds, and which were
caught in a singular manner. When a shoal of them were seen
floating asleep upon the surface of the ocean, a good swimmer
would plunge in a few fathoms deep, and rising, seize the turtle
towards the tail, and endeavour to force it down. Upon awaken-
ing, the creature's struggles to free itself suffice to support both
the man and his prey, until the arrival of a boat to receive them
After a fruitless cruise, Anson determined to burn three of the
Spanish vessels which he had seized and equipped. Distributing
the crews and cargo upon the Centurion and the GloucestPr, the
only two vessels remaining to him, he decided upon the 6th of May,
1742, to make for China, where he hoped to find reinforcements
But this voyage, which he expected to accomplish in sixty days,
took him fully four months. After a violent gale, the Gloucester,
having all but foundered, and her crew being too reduced to work
her, was burnt. Her cargo of silver, and her supplies were
trans-shipped to the Centurion, which alone remained of all that
20 THE GREAT NAVIGATOBE OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
magnificent fleet which two years earlier had set sail from
Thrown out of his course, far to the north, Anson discovered
on the 26th of August, the Isles of Atanacan and Serigan, and
the following day those of Saypan, Tinian, and Agnigan, which
form a part of the Marianne Archipelago.
A Spaniard, a sergeant, whom he captured in a small bark in
these seas, told him that the island of Tinian was inhabited, and
abounded with cattle, fowls, and excellent fruits, such as oranges,
lemons, limes, bread fruit, &c. Nowhere could the Centurion
have found a more welcome port for her exhausted crew, now
numbering only seventy-one men, worn out by privation and
illness, the only survivors of the 2000 sailors who had manned
the fleet at its departure.
The soil of this island," says the narrative, is dry and some-
what sandy, which makes the verdure of the meadows and woods
more delicate and more uniform than is usually the case in tropical
"The ground rises gently from the English encampment to the
centre of the isle, but before its greatest height is reached, one
meets with sloping glade, covered with fine clover, and many
brilliant flowers, and bordered by beautiful fruit-trees.
The animals, who, for the greater part of the year, are the only
lords of this beautiful retreat, add to its romantic charm, and contri-
bute not a little to its marvellous appearance. Thousands of cattle
may be seen grazing together in a vast meadow, and the sight is
the more singular as the animals are all of a milk white colour, with
the exception of their ears, which are generally black. Althoughit
is a desert-island, the sight and sound of such a number of domestic
animals, rushing in crowds through the woods, suggest the idea of
farmhouses and villages."
Truly an enchanting description! But has not the author rather
drawn upon his imagination for the charming details of his descrip-
After so long a voyage, after so many storms, it is little to lie
wondered at, if the verdant woods, the exuberant vegetation, and
the abundance of animal life, profoundly impressed the minds
of Anson's companions. Well! we shall soon learn whether his
successors at Tinian found it as wonderful as he did.
ASTRONOMERS AND CARTOGRAPHERS.
Meanwhile Anson was not altogether free from anxiety. It was
true that his ships were repaired, but many of his men remained
on land to recover their strength, and but a small number of able-
bodied seamen remained on board with him. The roadstead being
lined with coral, great precautions were necessary to save the cables
from being cut, but in spite of them, at new moon, a sudden
tempest arose and broke the ship loose. The anchors held well,
but the hawsers gave way, and the Centurion was carried out to sea.
The thunder growled ceaselessly, and the rain fell with such violence,
that the signals of distress which were given by the crew were not
even heard. Anson, most of his officers, and a large part of the crew,
numbering one hundred and thirteen persons, remained on land and
found themselves deprived of the only means they possessed of
leaving Tinian. Their despair was great, their consternation inex-
pressible. But Anson, with his energy and endless resources, soon
roused his companions from their despair! One vessel, that which
they had captured from the Spaniards, still remained to them, and it
occurred to them to lengthen it, until it could contain them all with
the necessary provisions for a voyage to China. However, after
nineteen days, the Centurion returned, and the English, embarking
in her upon the 21st of October, were not long in reaching Macao,
putting into a friendly and civilized port for the first time since
their departure from England, two years before.
Macao," says Anson, formerly rich, well populated, and
capable of self-defence against the Chinese Government, is greatly
shorn of its ancient splendour! Although still inhabited by the
Portuguese and ruled by a Governor, nominated by the King of
Portugal, it is at the mercy of the Chinese, who can starve the in-
habitants, or take possession of it, for which reasons the Portu-
guese Governor is very careful not to offend them."
Anson was forced to write an imperious letter to the Chinese
Governor, before he could obtain permission to buy, even at high
prices, the provisions and stores he required. He then publicly
announced his intention of leaving for Batavia and set sail on the
19th of April, 1743. But, instead of steering for the Dutch posses-
sion, he directed his course towards the Philippine Islands, where,
for several days, he awaited the arrival of the galleon returning from
Acapulco, laden with- the proceeds of the sale of her rich cargo.
These vessels usually carried forty-four guns, and were manned
22 THE GREAT NAVIGATORS OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
by a crew of over 500 men. Anson had only 200 sailors, of whom
thirty were but lads, but this disproportion did not deter him, for
he had the expectation of rich booty, and the cupidity of his men
was sufficient guarantee of their courage.
Why," asked Anson one day of his steward, why do you no
longer give us mutton for dinner P Have we eaten all the sheep
we bought in China P "
"Pray excuse me, Commodore," replied the steward, but I am
reserving the only two which remain for the Captain of the galleon."
No one, not even the steward, doubted of success Anson well
understood how to secure it, and the efficiency of his men compen-
sated for their reduced numbers. The struggle was hot, the straw
mats which filled the rigging of the galleon took fire and the flames
rose as high as the mizen mast. The Spaniards found the double
enemies too much! After a sharp contest of two hours, during
which sixty-seven of their men were killed and eighty-four wounded,
It was a rich prize, 1,313,842 "pieces of eight," and 35,682
ounces of in got silver, with other merchandise of little value in com-
parison with the money. This booty, added to others, amounted
to nearly 400,0001, without taking into account the vessels, goods,
&c., of the Spaniards which the English squadron had burnt
or destroyed, and which could not be reckoned at less than
Anson convoyed his prize to the Canton River, where he sold it
much below its value, for 6000 piastres. He left on the 10th of
December, and reached Spithead on the 15th of June, 1744, after
an absence of three years and nine months. He made a triumphal
entry into London. The half-million of money, which was the
result of his numerous prizes, was conveyed through the city in
thirty-two chariots, to the sound of trumpets and beating of
drums and amidst the shouts of the people.
The money was divided between himself, his officers, and men;
the king himself could not claim a share.
Anson was created rear-admiral shortly after his return, and
received important commands.
I A Spanish coin, so called, because it represents thi eighth of a doubloon, it is
worth about nine shillings English money.
Fight between the Centurion and a Spanish galleon.
(Fac-simile of early engraving.)
ASTRONOMERS AND CARTOGRAPHERS. 23
In 1747, he captured the Marquis of La Jonquiere Taffanel,
after an heroic struggle. For this exploit, he was made First Lord
of the Admiralty and Admiral.
In 1758, he covered the attempted descent of the English near
St. Malo, and died in London a short time after his return.
24 THE GREAT NAVIGATORS OF THE EIGHTEENTH OENTURYT.
CAPTAIN CooK'S PREDECESSORS.
Roggewein-The little that is known of him-The uncertainty of his discoveries
-Easter Island-The Pernicious Islands-The Baumans-New Britain-
Arrival in Batavia-Byron-Stay at Rio J aneiro and Port Desire-Entrance
into Straits of Magellan-Falkland Islands and Port Egmont-The
Fuegians-Mas a Fuero-Disappointment Islands-Danger Islands-Tinian
-Return to Europe.
As early as 1669, Roggewein the elder had petitioned the Dutch
West India Company for three armed vessels, in order to prose-
cute his discoveries in the Pacific Ocean. His project was
favourably received, but a coolness in the relations between
Spain and Holland forced the Batavian government to relinquish
the expedition for a time. Upon his death-bed Roggewein forced
from his son Jacob a promise to carry the plan he had conceived
Circumstances, over which he had no control, for a long time
hindered the fulfilment of his promise. It was only after several
voyages in the Indian seas, after having even been judge in
the Batavian Justice Court, that at length Jacob Roggewein was
in a position to take the necessary steps with the West India
Company. We have no means of finding out Roggewein's age in
1721, or of ascertaining what were his claims to the command
of an expedition of discovery. Most biographical dictionaries
honour him with but a slight mention, perhaps of a couple of
lines, and Fleurieu, in his learned and exhaustive account of the
Dutch navigator, was unable to -find out anything certain about
Moreover, the narrative of the voyage was written not by
Roggewein, but by a German named Behrens. We may, there-
fore, with some justice, attribute the obscurities and contradic-
CAPTAIN COOK'S PREDECESSORS.
tions of the particulars given, and their general want of accuracy,
rather to the narrator than to the navigator. It even appears
sometimes (and this is far from improbable), that Roggewein
was ignorant of the voyages and discoveries of his predecessors
Upon the 21st of August, 1721, three vessels set sail from
Texel, under his command. They were, the Eagle of 36
guns, and with a crew of 111 men, the Tienhoven of 28
guns and 100 men, Captain James Bauman, and the galley
African of 14 guns and a crew of 60 men, Captain Henry
Rosenthal. Their voyage across the Atlantic afforded no parti-
culars of interest. Touching at Rio, Roggewein went in search of
an island which he named Auke's Magdeland, and which would
appear to be the same as the Land of the Virgin, Hawkins'
Virginia, and the Archipelago of the Falkland, or Malouine
Islands, unless indeed it was Southern Georgia. Although these
islands were then well known, it would appear that the Dutch
knew little of their whereabouts, as after vainly seeking the
Falkland Isles, they set to work to look for the island St. Louis,
belonging to the French, apparently quite unaware that they
belonged to the same group.
There are few lands indeed which have borne so many different
names as Pepys Isles, Conti Isles, and many which we need not
mention. It would be easy to count up a dozen.
After discovering, or rather noticing an island below the
parallel of the Straits of Magellan, about twenty-four leagues
from the American continent, of two hundred leagues in circum-
ference, which he named South Belgium, Roggewein passed
through the Straits of Lemaire, or possibly was carried by the
current to 62j of southern latitude. Finally, he regained the
coast of Chili; and cast anchor opposite the island of Mocha,
which he found deserted. He afterwards reached Juan Fernan-
dez, where he met with the Tiensoven, from which he had been.
separated since the 21st of December.
The vessels left this harbour before the end of March, and steered
to the west-north-west, in search of the land discovered by Davis,
between 27 and 280 south.
After a search of several days, Roggewein sighted an island
upon the 6th of April, 1722, which he named Easter Island.
26 THE GREAT NAVIGATORS OF THE EIGHTHENTH OENTURY,
We will not stop to enumerate the exaggerated dimensions
claimed for this island by the Dutch navigator, nor to notice his
observations of the manners, and customs of the inhabitants. We
shall have occasion to refer to them in dealing with the more de-
tailed and reliable accounts of Cook and La Perouse. But,"
said Fleurieu, we shall vainly look in this narrative for any sign
of learning on the part of Roggewein's sergeant-major." After
describing the Banana, of which the leaves are six or eight feet
high, and two or three wide, he adds that this was the leaf with
which our first parents covered their nakedness after the Fall; and
to make it clearer, further remarks that those who accept this view,
do so on account of this leaf being the largest of all the plants
growing either in eastern or western countries, thereby plainly
indicating his notion of the proportions of Adam and Eve.
A native came on board the Eagle. He delighted every one by
his good humour, gaiety, and friendly demonstrations.
In the morning Roggewein distinguished an eager multitude
upon the shore, which was adorned with high statues, who awaited
the arrival of the strangers with impatient curiosity. For no dis-
coverable purpose a gun was fired, one of the natives was killed,
and the multitude fled in every direction,-soon, however, to re-
turn in greater haste. Roggewein, at the head of 150 men, fired
a volley, stretching a number of victims on the ground. Over-
come with terror, the natives hastened to appease their terrible
visitors by offering them all they possessed.
Fleurieu is of opinion that Easter Island and Davis Land are
not identical; but in spite of the reasons with which he supports
his opinions, and the differences which he points out in the situa-
tion and description of the two islands, it is impossible to avoid
the conclusion that Roggewein and Davis's discoveries are one and
the same. No other island answering to the description is to be
found in these latitudes, which are now thoroughly well known.
A violent storm of wind drove Roggewein from his anchorage
on the eastern side of the island, and obliged him to make for the
west-north-west. He traversed the sea called Mauvaise by Schouten,
and having sailed eight hundred leagues from Easter Island, fell in
with what he took to be the Isle of Dogs, so called by Schouten.
Roggewein named it Carlshoff, a name which it still retains.
The squadron passed this island in the night, without touching
. .. .. n o ,U S
Map of the Eastern Hemisphere.
CAPTAIN COOK'S PREDECESSORS.
at it, and was forced in the following night, by the wind and
adverse currents, to the midst of a group of low islands,
which were quite unexpectedly encountered. The .frican was
dashed against a coral rock, and the two consorts narrowly es-
caped the same fate. Only after five days of unceasing effort, of
danger and anxiety, the crew succeeded in extricating the vessels
and in regaining the open sea.
The natives of this group were tall, with long and flowing
hair. They painted their bodies in various colours. It is gene-
rally agreed now to recognize in Roggewein's description of the
Pernicious Islands, the group to which Cook gave the name of
On the morning succeeding the day in which he had so narrowly
escaped the dangers of the Pernicious Islands, Roggewein dis-
covered an island to which he gave the name of Aurora. Lying
low, it was scarcely visible above the water, and had the sun not
shone out, the Tienhoven would have been lost upon it.
As night approached, new land was perceived, to which the
name of Vesper was given, and it is difficult to decide whether
or no it belonged to the Palliser group.
Roggewein continued to sail between the 15th and 16th degrees,
and was not long in finding himself all of a sudden in the
midst of islands which were half submerged.
As we approached them," says Behrens, we saw an immense
number of canoes navigating the coasts, -and we concluded that
the islands were well populated. Upon nearing the land we dis-
covered that it consisted of a mass of different islands, situated close
the one to the other, and we were insensibly drawn in amongst
them. We began to fear that we should be unable to extricate
ourselves. The admiral sent one of the pilots up to the look-out
to ascertain how we could get free of them."
We owed our safety to the calm that prevailed. The slightest
movement of the water would have run our ships upon the rocks,
without the possibility of assistance reaching us. As it was, we
got away without any accident worth mentioning. These islands
are six in number, all very pleasant, and taken together may
extend some thirty leagues. They are situated twenty-five leagues
westward of the Pernicious Islands. We named them the Laby-
rinth, because we could only leave them by a circuitous route.
28 THE GREAT NAVIGATORS OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
Many authors identify this group with Byron's Prince of Wales
Islands. Fleurieu holds a different opinion. Dumont d'Urville
thinks them identical with the group of Vliegen, already seen by
Schouten and Lemaire.
After navigating for three days in a westerly direction, the
Dutch caught sight of a beautiful island. Cocoa-nuts, palm-trees,
and luxuriant verdure testified to its fertility. But finding it
impossible to anchor there, the officers and crews were obliged to
visit it in well-armed detachments.
Once more the Dutch needlessly shed the blood of an 'inoffensive
population which had awaited them upon the shore, and whose
only fault consisted in their numbers.
After this execution, worthy rather of barbarians than of civi-
lized men, they endeavoured to persuade the natives to return, by
offering presents to the chiefs, and by deceitful protestations of
friendship. But they were not to be deceived by the latter, and
having enticed the sailors into the interior, the inhabitants rushed
upon them and attacked them with stones. Although a volley of
bullets stretched a number upon the ground, they still bravely
persisted in attacking the strangers, and forced them to re-embark,
carrying with them their dead and wounded.
Of course the Dutch cried treason, not knowing how to find
epithets strong enough for the treachery and disloyalty of their
adversaries. But, who struck the first blow ? Who was the
aggressor? Even admitting that a few thefts were committed,
which -is probable enough, was it necessary to visit them with
so severe a punishment, to revenge upon an entire population
the wrong-doing of a few individuals, who after all can have
had no very strict notions of honesty ?
In spite of their losses, the Dutch called this island, in memory
of the refreshment they had enjoyed there, Recreation Island.
Roggewein gives its situation as below the sixth parallel, but his
longitude is so incorrect, that it is impossible to depend upon it.
The question now arises, whether the captain should prosecute
his search for the Island Espirito Santo de Quiros in the west, or
whether, on the contrary, he should sail northward and reach the
East Indies during the favourable season?
The counsel of war, which Roggewein called to the consideration
of this question, chose the latter alternative.
The counsel chose the latter alternative.
CAPTAIN COOK'S PREDECESSORS.
The third day after this decision, three islands were simultane-
ously discovered. They received the name of Bauman, after the
captain of the Tienhoven, who was the first to catch sight of them.
The natives came round the vessels to traffo, whilst an immense
crowd of the inhabitants lined the shore, armed with bows and
spears. They were white skinned, and only differed from Euro-
peans in appearance, when very much tanned by the sun. Their
bodies were not painted. A strip of stuff, artistically arranged
and fringed, covered them from the waist to the heels. Hats of
the same material protected their heads and necklaces of sweet-
smelling flowers, adorned their necks.
It must be confessed," says Behrens, that this is the most civi-
lized nation, as well as the most honest, which we have met with in
the southern seas. Charmed with our arrival, they received us
like gods, and when we showed our intention of leaving, they
testified most lively regrets."
From the description, these would appear to have been the
inhabitants of the Navigators Islands.
After having encountered the islands which Roggewein be-
lieved to be Cocoa and Traitor Islands, already visited by Schou-
ten and Lemaire, and which Fleurieu, imagining them to be a
Dutch discovery, named Roggewein Islands; after having caught
sight of Tienhoven and Groningue Islands, which were believed by
Pingr6 to be identical with Santa Cruz of Mendana, the expedi-
tion finally reached the coast of New Ireland. Here the discoverers
perpetrated new massacres. From thence they went to the shores
of New Guinea, and after crossing the Moluccas, cast anchor at
There their fellow-countrymen, less humane than many of the
tribes they had visited, confiscated the two vessels, imprisoned the
officers and sailors indiscriminately, and sent them to Europe to
take their trial. They had committed the unpardonable crime of
having entered countries belonging to the East India Company,
whilst they themselves were in the employ of the West India
The result was a trial, and the East India Company was com-
pelled to restore all that it had appropriated, and to pay heavy
We lose all sight of Roggewein after his arrival at Texel upon
30 THE GREAT NAVIGATORS OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
the llth July, 1723, and no details are to be obtained of the last
years of his life. Grateful thanks are due to Fleurieu for having
unravelled this chaotic narrative, and for having thrown some
light upon an expedition which deserves to be better known.
Upon. the 17th of June, 1764, Commodore Byron received in-
structions signed by the Lord of the Admiralty. They were to the
following effect,-" As nothing contributes more to the glory of
this nation, in its character of a maritime power, to the dignity of
the British crown, and to the progress of its national commerce
and navigation, than the discovery of new regions; and as there
is every reason for believing in the existence of lands and islands
in great numbers, between the Cape of Good Hope and the Straits
of Magellan, which have been hitherto unknown to the European
powers, and which are situated in latitudes suitable for navigation,
and in climates productive of different marketable commodities;
and as moreover, his Majesty's islands, called Pepys and Falk-
land Islands, situated as will be described, have not been suffi-
ciently examined for a just appreciation of their shores and pro-
ductions, although they were discovered by English navigators;
his Majesty, taking all these considerations into account, and con-
ceiving the existing state of profound peace now enjoyed by his
subjects especially suitable for such an undertaking, has decided
to put it into execution."
Upon what seaman would the choice of the English Govern-
ment fall P
Commodore John Byron, born on the 8th of November, 1723,
was the man selected. From his earliest years, he had shown an
enthusiastic love of seafaring life, and at the age of seventeen
had offered his services upon one of the vessels that formed Admiral
Anson's squadron, when it was sent out for the destruction of
Spanish settlements upon the Pacific coast.
We have already given an account of the troubles which befell
this expedition before the incredible fortune which was to distinguish
its last voyage.
The vessel upon which Byron embarked was the Wager. It was
wrecked in passing through the Straits of Magellan, and the
crew being taken prisoners by the Spaniards, were sent to Chili.
After a captivity which lasted at least three years, Byron effected his
escape, and was rescued by a vessel from St. Malo, which took
CAPTAIN COOK'S PREDECESSORS.
him to Europe. He returned at once to service, and distinguished
himself in various encounters during the war with France.
Doubtless it was the recollection of his first voyage round the
world, so disastrously interrupted, which procured for him the
distinction conferred upon him by the Admiralty.
The vessels entrusted to him were carefully armed. The
Dauphin was a sixth-rate man-of-war, and carried 24 guns,
150 sailors, 3 lieutenants, and 37 petty officers. The Tamar was a
sloop of 16 guns, and 90 sailors, 3 lieutenants, 27 petty officers,
commanded by Captain Mouat.
The start was not fortunate. The expedition left the Downs
upon the 21st of June, but the Dauphin grounded before leaving the
Thames, and was obliged to put into Plymouth for repairs.
Upon the 3rd of July, anchor was finally weighed, and ten days
later, Byron put in at Funchal in the Island of Madeira for
refreshments. He was forced to halt again at Cape Verd Islands,
to take in water, that with which he was supplied having become
Nothing further occurred to interrupt the voyage, until the two
English vessels sighted Cape Frio.
Byron remarked a singular fact, since fully verified, that the
copper sheathing of his vessels appeared to disperse the fish,
which he expected to meet with in large quantities.
The tropical heat, and constant rains, had struck down a large
proportion of the crew, hence the urgent need of rest and of fresh
victuals which they experienced.
These they hoped to find at Rio de Janeiro, where they arrived
on the 12th December. Byron was warmly welcomed by the
viceroy, and thus describes his first interview.
When I made my visit, I was received in the greatest state,
about sixty officers were drawn up by the palace. The guard
was under arms. They were fine, well-drilled men. His Excel-
lency accompanied by the nobility received me on the staircase.
Fifteen salutes from the neighboring fort honoured my arrival.
We then entered the audience-chamber, and after a conversation
of a quarter of an hour, I took my leave, and was conducted back
with the same ceremonies."
We shall see a little later how slightly the reception given to
Captain Cook some years afterwards resembled that just related.
32 THE GREAT NAVIGATORS OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
The Commodore obtained ready permission to disembark his
sick, and found every facility for revictualling. His sole cause of
complaint was the repeated endeavour of the Portuguese to tempt
his sailors to desert.
The insupportable heat experienced by the crew shortened their
stay at Rio. Upon the 16th of October, anchor was weighed, but
it was five days before a land breeze allowed the vessels to gain the
Up to this moment, the destination of the expedition had been
kept secret. Byron now summoned the captain of the Tamar
on board, and in the presence of the assembled sailors, read his
These enjoined him not to proceed to the East Indias, as had been
supposed, but to prosecute discoveries, which might prove of great
importance to England in the southern seas. With this object the
Lords of the Admiralty promised double pay to the crew, with future
advancement and enjoyments, if they were pleased with their services.
The second part of this short harangue was the most acceptable to
the sailors and was received by them with joyous demonstrations.
Until the 29th of October no incident occurred in their passage.
Upon that date sudden and violent squalls succeeded each other
and culminated in a fearful tempest, the violence of which was
so great that the Commodore ordered four guns to be thrown over-
board, to avoid foundering. In the morning the weather mode-
rated somewhat, but it was as cold as in England at the same time
of year, although in this quarter of the globe the month of Novem-
ber answers to the month of May. As the wind continued to
drive the vessel eastward, Byron began to think that he should
experience great difficulty in avoiding the east of Patagonia.
Suddenly, upon the 12th of November, although no land was
marked on the chart in this position, a repeated cry of Land I
land ahead !" arose. Clouds at this moment obscured almost the
entire horizon, and it thundered and lightened without inter-
It seemed to me," says Byron, that what had at first appeared
to be an island, was really two steep mountains, but, upon looking
windward, it was apparent that the land which belonged to these
mountains stretched far to the south-east." Consequently, he
steered south-west. I sent some officers to the masthead to watch
CAPTAIN COOK'S PREDECESSORS.
the wind, and to verify the discovery. They unanimously asserted
that they saw a great extent of country. We then went E.S.E.
The land appeared to present entirely the same appearance. The
mountains looked blue, as is often the case in dark and rainy
weather, when one is near them. Shortly afterwards, several of
our number fancied they could distinguish waves breaking upon
a sandy shore, but after steering with the utmost caution for an
hour, that which we had taken for land disappeared suddenly, and
we were convinced to our amazement that it had been only a land of
fog! I have passed allmy life at sea," continues Byron, "since I was
twenty-seven, but I never could have conceived so complete and
sustained an illusion.
"There is no doubt, that had the weather not cleared so suddenly
as it did, we should one and all on board have declared that we
had discovered land in this latitude. We were then in latitude
430 46' S. and longitude 600 5" W."
The next morning a terrible gale of wind arose, heralded by the
piercing cries of many hundred birds flying before it. It lasted
only twenty minutes-sufficiently long, however, to throw the
vessel on its beam end before it was possible to let go the halliards.
At the same moment a blow from the sheet of the mainsail over-
threw the first lieutenant, and sent him rolling to a distance, while
the mizen-mast, which was not entirely lowered, was torn to
The following days were not much more favourable. Moreover,
the ship had sunk so little, that she drifted away as the wind
freshened. After such a troublesome voyage, we may guess how
gladly Byron reached Penguin Island and Port Desire on the
24th of November. But the delights of this station did not by
any means equal the anticipations of the crew.
The English sailors landed and upon advancing into the
interior, met only with a desert country, and sandy hills, without
a single tree. They found no game, but they saw a few guanacos
too far off for a shot; they were, however, able to catch some large
hares, which were not difficult to secure. The seals and sea birds,
however, furnished food for an entire fleet.
Badly situated and badly sheltered, Port Desire offered the
further inconvenience that only brackish water could be procured
there. Not a trace of inhabitants was to be found I A long stay
VOL. IL D
34 THE GREAT NAVIGATORS OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
in this place being useless and dangerous, Byron started in search
of Pepys Island on the 25th.
The position of this island was most uncertain. Halley placed
it 800 east of the continent. Cowley, the only person who asserted
that he had seen it, declared it was about 470 latitude, S., but did
not fix its longitude. Here then was an interesting problem to
After having explored to the N., to the S., and to the E.,
Byron, satisfied that this island was imaginary, set sail for the
Sebaldines, in haste to reach the first possible port where he could
obtain food and water, of which he had pressing need. A storm
overtook him, during which the waves were so terrific, that Byron
declared he had never seen them equalled, even when he doubled
Cape Horn with Admiral Anson. This danger surmounted, he
recognized Cape Virgin, which forms the northern entrance to the
Straits of Magellan.
As soon as the vessels neared the shore, the sailors distinguished
a crowd of men on horseback, who set up a white tent, and signed
to them to land. Curious to see these Patagonians, about whom
preceding navigators had so disagreed, Byron landed with a strong
detachment of armed soldiers.
He found nearly 500 men, most of them on horseback, of
gigantic stature, and looking like monsters in human shape.
Their bodies were painted in the most hideous manner, their faces
traced with various coloured lines, their eyes encircled with blue,
black, or red, so that they had the appearance of wearing
enormous spectacles. Almost all were naked, with the exception
of a skin thrown over their shoulders-the wool inside, and a few
of them wore boots. Truly, a singular costume! primitive and
With them were numbers of dogs and of very small horses,
excessively ugly, but not the less extremely swift.
The women rode on horseback like the men without stirrups,
and all galloped on the shore, although it was covered with
immense stones and very slippery.
The interview was friendly. Byron distributed numbers of
toys, ribbons, glass trinkets, and tobacco, to the crowd of giants.
As soon as he had brought the Dauphin to the wind, Byron
entered the Straits of Magellan with the tide. It was not his
Most of them on horseback.
CAPTAIN 000K'S PREDECESSORS.
intention to cross it, but merely to find a safe and commodious
harbour, where he might secure wood and water before starting
in his search for the Falkland Islands.
On leaving the second outlet, he met with St. Elizabeth,
St. Bartholomew, and St. George Islands, and Sandy Point.
Near the last he found a delicious country, springs, woods, fields
covered with flowers, which shed an exquisite perfume in the air.
The country was swarming with hundreds of birds, of which one
species received the name of the Painted Goose," from the
exceeding brilliancy of its plumage. But nowhere could a spot be
found where the ship's boat could approach without extreme
danger. The water was shallow everywhere, and the breakers
were heavy. Fish of many kinds-more especially mullets,-geese,
snipe, teal, and other birds of excellent flavour, were caught and
killed by the crew.
Byron was obliged to continue his voyage to Port Famine, which
he reached on the 27th of December.
"We were sheltered from all winds," he says, "with the
exception of the south-east, which rarely blows, and no damage
ciuld accrue to vessels which might be driven on shore in the bay,
because of the profound calm that prevails. Wood enough
floated near the shore to stock a thousand vessels, so we had no
need to go and cut it in the forest.
The River Sedger ran at the bottom of the bay, the water of
which is excellent. Its banks are planted with large and beautiful
trees, excellent for masts; parrots, and birds of brilliant plumage
thronged the branches." Abundance reigned in Famine Port
during Byron's stay.
As soon as his crew were completely recovered from their.fatigue
and the ships well provisioned, the Commodore, on the 5th of
January, 1765, resumed his search for the Falkland Islands. Seven
days later, he discovered a land in which he fancied he recognized
the Islands of Sebald de Wert, but upon nearing them he found
that what he had taken for three islands, was, in reality, but one,
which extended far south. He had no remaining doubt that he
had found the group marked upon the charts of the time as New
Ireland, 510 south latitude, and 63, 32' west longitude.
First of all, Byron steered clear of them, fearing to be thrown
upon a coast with which he was unacquainted, and after this
36 THE GREAT NAVIGATORS OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
summary bearing, a detachment was selected to skirt the coast as
closely as possible, and look for a safe and commodious harbour-
which was soon met with. It received the name of Port Egmont,
in honour of Earl Egmont, First Lord of the Admiralty.
I did not expect," says Byron, "that it would be possible to
find so good a harbour. The depth was excellent, the supply
of water easy; all the ships of England might be anchored there
in shelter from winds.
"Geese, ducks, and teal abounded to such an extent, that the
sailors were tired of eating them. Want of wood was general,
with the exception of some trunks of trees which floated by the
shore, and which were apparently brought here from the Strait
"The wild sorel and celery, both excellent anti-scorbutics,
were to be found in abundance. Sea-calves and seals, as well as
penguins, were so numerous that it was impossible to walk upon
the strand without seeing them rush away in herds. Animals
resembling wolves, but more like foxes in shape, with the
exception of their height and tails, several times attacked the
sailors, who had great difficulty in defending themselves. It
would be no easy task to guess how they came.here, distant as the
country is from any other continent,-by at least a hundred
leagues; or to imagine where they found shelter, in a country
barren of vegetation, producing only rushes, sword-grass, and not
a single tree."
The account of this portion of Byron's voyage, in Didot's
biography, is a tissue of errors.
"The flotilla," says M. Alfred de Lacaze, "became entangled
in the Straits of Magellan, and was forced to put into a bay near
Port Famine, which was named Port Egmont." A singular
mistake, which proves how lightly the articles of this important
collection were sometimes written.
Byron took possession of Port Egmont and the adjacent isles,
called Falkland, in the name of the King of England. Cowley
had named them Pepys Islands, but in all probability the first
discoverer was Captain Davis in 1592. Two years later Sir
Richard Hawkins found land which was thought to be the same,
and named it Virginia, in honour of his queen Elizabeth.
Lastly, vessels from St. Malo visited this group, and no doubt
AGO N I A
STRAIr OF IRAS L LLAN
70 05 6o
Straits of Magellan, after Bougainville.
CAPTAIN COOK'S PREDECESSORS.
it was owing to this fact that Frezier called them the Malounies
After having named a number of rocks, islets, and capes, Byron
left Port Egmont on the 27th of January, and set sail for Port
Desire, which he reached nine days later. There he found the
Florida-a transport vessel, which had brought from England the
provisions and necessary appliances for his long voyage.
But this anchorage was too dangerous. The Florida and the
Tamar were in too bad a condition to be equal to the long operation
of transhipment. Byron therefore sent one of his petty officers,
who had a thorough knowledge of the Strait of Magellan, on
board the Florida, and with his two consorts set sail for Port
Famine. He met with a French ship so many times in the straits,
that it appeared as if she were bent upon the same course as himself.
Upon returning to England, he ascertained that she was the Aigle,
Captain M. de Bougainville, who was coasting Patagonia in search
of the wood needed by the French colony in the Falkland Islands.
During the various excursions in the straits, the English
expedition received several visits from the inhabitants of Tierra
"I have never seen such wretched beings," says Byron; "they
were entirely naked, with the exception of a skin thrown across
the shoulders. They offered me the bows and arrows with which
they were armed in exchange for beads, necklaces, and other
trifles. Their arrows, which were two feet long, were made of
cane, and pointed with greenish stone; the bows were three feet
long and were furnished with catgut for strings.
"Their nourishment consisted of certain fruits, mussels, and the
remains of putrid fish thrown upon the beach during the storms.
Pigs only could have relished their food. It consisted of large
pieces of whale, already putrified, the odour of which impregnated
the air for some distance. One of them tore the carrion in pieces
with his teeth, and handed the bits to his companions, who devoured
them with the voracity of wild beasts.
Several of these miserable beings decided to come on board.
Wishing to give them a pleasant reception, one of my petty officers
played the violin and the sailors danced. This delighted them.
Anxious to show their appreciation, one of their number hastened to
his pirogue (small boat) and returned with a little bag of wolf-skin,
88 THE GREAT NAVIGATORS OF THE EIGHT PEENTH CENTURY.
containing a red ointment, with which he rubbed the face of the
violinist. He was anxious to pay me the same attention, but I
drew back. He then tried every means of overcoming my delicacy,
and I had great difficulty in avoiding the mark of esteem he was so
anxious to give me."
It will not be out of place here to record the opinion held by
Byron, an experienced seaman, upon the advantages and disadvan-
tages offered to the passage through the Straits-of Magellan. He
does not agree with the majority of navigators who have visited
these latitudes. He says,-
"Our account of the difficulties and dangers we encountered
may lead to the idea that it is not prudent to attempt this passage,
and that ships leaving Europe for the southern seas, should prefer
to double Cape Horn. I am by no means of this opinion, although
I have twice doubled Cape Horn. There is one season in the year
when not only one ship, but an entire fleet, might safely cross the
straits, and to profit by this season one should enter them in the
month of December. One inestimable advantage which should
weigh with all navigators is that celery, scurvy-grass, fruits, and
other anti-scorbutic vegetables abound. Such obstacles as we en-
countered, and which delayed us from the 17th of February till the
8th of April in the straits, were mainly due to the equinoctial
season, a season which is invariably stormy, and which, more than
once, tried our patience."
Until the 26th of April, the day upon which they found Mas-a-
Fuero, belonging to the Juan Fernandez group, Byron had sailed to
the N.W. He hastened to disembark several sailors, who after
obtaining water and wood, chased wild goats, which they found
better flavoured than venison in England.
During their stay in this port, a singular fact occurred. A
violent surf broke over the shore, and prevented the shore-boats
from reaching the strand. Although he was provided with a life-
belt, one of the sailors, who could not swim, refused to jump into
the sea to reach the boat. Threatened with being left alone on the
island, he still persistently refused to venture, when one of his
companions cleverly encircled his waist with a cord, in which he
had made a running knot, and one end of which was made fast to
the boat. When he reached the vessel, Hawksworth's narrative
relates, that the unfortunate fellow had swallowed so much water
One of them tore the carrion with his teeth.
CAPTAIN COOK'S PREDECESSORS.
that he appeared lifeless. He was accordingly hung up by the
heels, whereupon he soon regained his senses, and-the next day
was completely restored. But in spite of this truly wonderful
recovery, we can hardly venture to recommend this course of treat-
ment to humane rescue societies.
Leaving Mas-a-Fuero, Byron changed his route, with the inten-
tion of seeking Davis Land, now known as Easter Island, which
was placed by geographers in 270 3U', a hundred leagues west-
ward of the American coast. Eight days were devoted to this
Having found nothing after this cruise, which he was unable to
prolong, Byron, following his intention of visiting the Solomon
group, steered for the north-west.. Upon the 22nd of May scurvy
broke out on board the vessels, and quickly made alarming havoc.
Fortunately land was perceived from the look-out on the 7th of
June in 140 58' west longitude.
Next day, the fleet neared two islands, which presented an:
Large bushy trees, shrubs and groves were seen, and a number
of natives who hastened to the shore and lighted fires.
Byron sent a boat in search of anchorage. It returned without
having found the requisite depth at a cable's length from shore.
The unfortunate victims of scurvy who had crawled on to the
forecastle, cast looks of sorrowful longing at the fertile islands,
which held the remedy for their sufferings and which Nature placed
beyond their reach!
The narrative says,-
They saw the cocoa-trees in abundance, laden with fruit, the
milk of which is probably the most powerful anti-scorbutic in the
world. They had reason for supposing that limes, bananas, and
other tropical fruits abounded, and to add to their torments they
saw the shells of tortoises floating on the shore."
All these delights, which would have restored them to vigour,
were no more attainable than if they had been separated by half the
globe, but the sight of them increased the misery of their priva-
Byron was anxious to curtail the tantalizing'misery ofhis unfor-
tunate crew, and giving the name of Disappointment Islands to
the group, he set sail once more on the 8th of June.
40 THE GREAT NAVIGATORS OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
The very next day he found a new land, long, flat, covered
with cocoa-nut trees. In its midst was a lake with a little islet.
This feature alone was indicative of the madreporio formation of
the soil, simple deposit, which was not yet, but which in time
would become, an island. The boat sent to sound met in every
direction with a coast as steep as a wall.
Meanwhile the natives made hostile demonstrations. Two men
entered the boat. One stole a sailor's waistcoat, another put out
his hand for the quarter-master's cocked hat, but not knowing how
to deal with it, pulled it towards him, instead of lifting it up, which
gave the quarter-master an opportunity of interfering with his
intention. Two large pirogues, each manned by thirty paddlers,
showed an intention of attacking the vessels, but the latter imme-
diately chased them. Just as they were running ashore a struggle
ensued, and the English, all but overwhelmed by numbers, were
forced to use their arms. Three or four natives were killed.
' Next day, the sailors and such of the sick as could leave their
The natives, intimidated by the lesson they had received in the
evening, remained in concealment, whilst the English picked
cocoa-nuts, and gathered anti-scorbutic plants. These timely
refreshments were so useful that in a few days there was not a
sick man on board.
Parrots, rarely beautiful, and tame doves, and several kinds of
unknown birds composed the fauna of the island, which received
the name of King George-that which was discovered afterwards
was called Prince of Wales' Island. All these lands belonged
to the Pomotou group, which is also known as the Low Islands, a
very suitable name for this archipelago.
On the 21st again a new chain of islands surrounded by breakers
was sighted. Byron did not attempt a thorough investigation of
these, as to do so he would have incurred risks out of proportion to
the benefit to be gained. He called them the Dangerous Islands.
Six days later, Duke of York Island.was discovered. The Eng-
lish found no inhabitants, but carried off two hundred cocoa-nuts,
which appeared to them of inestimable value.
A little farther,'in latitude 10 18' south longitude, 1730 46'
west, a desert island received the name of Byron; it was situated
eastward of the Gilbert group.
CAPTAIN 00OK'S PBEDOBESSORB.
The heat was overwhelming, and the sailors, weakened, by their
long voyage and want of proper food, in addition to the putrid
water they had been forced to drink, were almost all attacked by
At length, on the 28th of July, Byron joyfully recognized Say-
pan and Tinian Islands, which form part of the Marianne or
Ladrone Islands, and he prepared to anchor in the very spot
where Lord Anson had cast anchor with the Centurion. Tents
were immediately prepared for the sufferers from scurvy. Almost
all the sailors had been attacked by this terrible disease, many
even had been at the point of death. The captain undertook to
explore the dense wood which extended to the very edge of the
shore, in search of the lovely country so enthusiastically described
in the account written .by Lord Anson's chaplain. How far were
these enchanting descriptions from the truth! Impenetrable
forests met him on every side, overgrown plants, briars, and
tangled shrubs, at every step caught and tore his clothes. At the
same time the explorers were attacked and stung by clouds of
mosquitoes. Game was scarce and wild, the water detestable, the
roadstead was never more dangerous than at this season.
The halt was made, therefore, under unfortunate auspices. Still,
in the end limes, bitter oranges, cocoa-nuts, bread-fruits, guavas,
and others were found. But although these productions were bene-
ficial. to the invalids, who were shortly restored to vigour, the
malarious atmosphere caused such violent fever that two sailors
succumbed to it. In addition, the rain fell unceasingly and the
heat was overpowering. Byron says that he never experienced
such terrific heat, even in his visits to the coast of Guinea, the
East Indies, or St. Thomas Island, which is immediately below the
Fowls and wild pigs which weighed about 2 cwt. each, were easily
procurable, but had to be eaten immediately, as in less than a hour
decomposition took place. Lastly, the fish caught upon this shore
was so unwholesome, that even those who ate it in moderation
became dangerously ill, and risked their lives.
After a stay of nine weeks, the two ships, amply provisioned, left
the port of Tinian. Byron continued his route to the north,
after having passed Anatacan Island, already discovered by Anson.
He hoped to meet the N.E. monsoon before reaching the Bashees,
42 THE GREAT NAVIGATORS OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
which form the extreme north of the Philippines. Upon the 22nd
he perceived Grafton Island, the most northerly of this group, and
upon the 3rd of November he arrived at Timoan, which had been
mentioned by Dampier as a favourable place for procuring pro-
visions. The natives, however, who are of Malay descent, refused
the offer of hatchets, knives, and iron instruments in exchange for
fowls-they demanded rupees. Finally they accepted some hand-
kerchiefs in payment of a dozen fowls, a goat and its kid For-
tunately fish was abundant, as it wduld have been impossible to
procure fresh victuals.
Byron set sail once more on the 7th November, passed Poulo
Condor at a distance, stopped at Poulo Taya, where he encountered
a vessel bearing Dutch colours, but which was manned entirely by
Malays. Reaching Sumatra, he explored the coast and cast anchor
at Batavia, the principal seat of Dutch power in the East Indies, on
the 20th November.
At this time there were more than one hundred ships, large and
small, in this roadstead, so flourishing was the trade of the East
India Company at this epoch. The town was at the height of its
prosperity. Its large and open thoroughfares, its admirable canals,
bordered by pine-trees, its regular buildings, singularly recalled
the cities of the Netherlands.
Portuguese, Chinese, English, Dutch, Persians, Moors, and
Malays, mixed in the streets, and transacted business. F.8tes,
receptions, gaieties of every kind impressed newcomers with a high
idea of the prosperity of the town, and contributed to make their
stay a pleasant one. The sole drawback, and it was a serious one
to crews after so long a voyage, was the unhealthiness of the
locality, where endemic fevers abound. Byron being aware of
this, hurried the embarkation of his provisions, and set sail after
an interval of twelve days.'
Short as their stay had been, it had been too long. The fleet
had scarcely reached the strait of the sound, before a malignant fever
broke out among the crew, disabling half their number, and end-
ing in the death of three sailors.
After forty-eight days' navigation, Byron perceived the coast of
Africa, and cast anchor three days later in Table Bay.
Cape Town furnished all that he could require. Provisions,
water, medicines, were all shipped with a rapidity which suf-
CAPTAIN COOK'S PREDECESSORS.
ficiently indicated their anxiety to return, and once more the prow
of the vessel was directed homewards.
Two incidents occurred on the passage across the Atlantic, thus
described by Byron.
Off St. Helena, in fine weather, and with a favourable wind, the
vessel, then at a considerable distance from land, received a shook
which was as severe as if she had struck on a rock. Its violence so
alarmed us that we all ran to the bridge. Our fears were dissipated
when we saw the sea tinged with blood to a great distance. We
concluded that we had come in contact with a whale or a grampus,
and that our ship had apparently received no damage, which -was
A few days later, however, the Tamar was found to be in such
a dilapidated state, such grave injuries were discovered in her
rudder, that it was necessary to invent something to replace it, and
to enable her to reach the Antilles, it being too great a risk to allow
her to continue her voyage.
Upon the 9th of May, 1766, the Dauphin anchored in the Downs,
after a voyage round the world which had lasted for twenty-three
This was the most fortunate of all the circumnavigation voyages
undertaken by the English Up to this date, no purely scientific
voyage had been attempted. If it was less fruitful of results than
had been anticipated, the fault lay not so much with the captain
as with the Lords of the Admiralty. They were not sufficiently
accurate in their instructions, and had not taken the trouble (as
was done in later voyages) of sending special professors of the
various branches of science with the expedition.
Full justice, however, was paid to Byron. The title of Admiral
was conferred on him, and an important command in the East Indies
was entrusted to him. But we have no interest in the matter part of
his life, which ended in 1786, and to that, therefore, we need not
44 THE GUEAT NAVIGATORS OF THE EIGHTEENTH OENTUUY.
Walli and Oarteret-Preparations for the Expedition-Difiloult navigation of
the Strait of Magellan-Separation of the Dauphin and the Swoallow-
Whitsunday Island-Queen Charlotte's Island-Cumberland, Henry Islands,
&c.-Tahiti-Howe, Boscawen,and Keppel Islands-Wallis Island-Batavia
-The Cape-The Downs-Discovery of Pitcairn, Osnaburgh, and Gloucester
Islands by Carteret-Santa Cruz Archipelago-Solomon Islands-St.
George's canal and New Ireland, Portland and Admiralty Islands-Batavia
and Macassar-Meeting with Bougainville in the Atlantic.
THE impulse once given, England inaugurated the series of scien-
tific expeditions which were to prove so fruitful of results, and to
raise her naval reputation to such a height.
Admirable indeed is the training acquired in these voyages round
the world. In them the crew, the officers, and sailors, are con-
stantly brought face to face with unforeseen difficulties and dangers,
which call forth the best qualities of the sailor, the soldier, and the
If France succumbed to the naval superiority of Great Britain
during the revolutionary and imperial wars, was it not fully as
much owing to this stern training of the British seaman, as to
the internal dissensions which deprived France of the services of
the greater part of her naval staff ?
Be this as it may, the English Admiralty, shortly after Byron's
return, organized a new expedition. Their preparations appear to
have been far too hasty. The Dauphin only anchored in the Downs
at the beginning of May, and six weeks later, on the 19th of June,
Captain Samuel Wallis received the command.
This officer, after attaining the highest rank in the military
marine service, had been entrusted with an important command
in Canada, and had assisted in the capture of Louisburgh. We
cannot tell what qualities commended him to the Admiralty in
preference to his companions in arms, but in any case, the noble
lords had no reason to regret their decision. Wallis hastened the
CAPTAIN COOK'S PREDECESSORS.
needful preparations on board the Dauphin, and on the 21st of
August (less than a month after receiving his commission), he
joined the sloop Swallow and the Prince .rederick in Plymouth
The latter was in charge of Lieutenant Brine, the former was
commanded by Philip Carteret. Both were most distinguished
officers who had just returned from a voyage round the world with
Commodore Byron, and whose reputation was destined to be in-
creased by their second voyage.
The Swalloo, unfortunately, appears to have been quite unfit for
the service demanded of her. Having already been thirty years
in service, the sheathing was very much worn, and her keel was
not studded with nails, which might have served instead of sheath-
ing to protect her from parasites. Again the provisions and
marketable commodities were so unequally divided, that the
Swallow received much less than the Dauphin. Carteret begged in
vain for a rope yarn, a forge, and various things which his experience
told him would be indispensable.
This rebuff confirmed Carteret in his notion that he should not
get further than the Falkland Isles, but none the less he took every
precaution which his experience dictated to him.
As soon as the equipment was complete, on the 22nd of April
1766, the vessels set sail. It did not take Wallis long to find out
that the Swallow was a bad sailer, and that he might anticipate much
trouble during his voyage. However, no accident happened during
the voyage to Madeira, where the vessels put in to revictual.
Upon leaving the port, the commander supplied Carteret with
a copy of his instructions, and selected Port Famine, in the Strait
of Magellan, as a rendezvous, in case of separation.
Their stay at Port Praya, in the Island of Santiago, was
shortened on account of the ravages committed there by the small-
pox, and Wallis would not even allow his crew to land. Shortly
after leaving the Equator, the Prince Frederick gave signs of distress,
and it was necessary to send the carpenter on board to stop up
a leak on the larboard side. This vessel, which was provided with
inferior provisions, counted already a number of sick among her
Towards eight o'clock in the evening of the 19th of Novem-
ber, the crews perceived in the N.E. a meteor of extraordinary
46 THE GREAT NAVIGATORS OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY,
appearance, moving in a straight line towards the S.W. with
marvellous rapidity. It was,visible for almost a minute, and left
behind a trail of light, so bright that the deck was illuminated
as if it were mid-day.
On the 8th of December, the coast of Patagonia was at last
visible. Wallis skirted it until he reached Cape Virgin, where he
landed with the armed detachments of the Swallow and Prince
Frederick. A crowd of natives awaited them upon the shore, and
received with apparent satisfaction the knives, scissors, and other
trifles which it was usual to distribute upon such occasions, but they
would not part with guanacos, ostriches, or any other game which
were seen in their possession for any consideration. Wallis says,-
"We took the measure of the largest of them, one was six feet
six inches in height, several were five feet five inches, but the
average was five foot six, or six feet."
It must be remembered that these were English feet, which are
only 305 millemetres.
If these natives were not quite so tall as the giants mentioned
by previous navigators, they were very little less striking.
"Each one," continues the narrative, "carried a strange kind
of weapon, it consisted of two round stones, covered with copper,
each of which weighed.about a pound, and they were attached at
both ends to a cord about eight feet long. They used them like
slings, holding one of the. stones in the hand, and whirling the
other round the head until it attained sufficient velocity, when
they threw it towards the object they wished to strike. They
managed this weapon so adroitly that they could strike.a butt no
larger than a shilling with, both stones, at a distance of fifteen
roods. They did not, however; employ it in chasing guanacos
Wallis conducted eight of these Patagonians on board. They
did not appear surprised, as one would have expected, at the
number of new and extraordinary things they met with.
They advanced, retired, made a thousand grimaces before the.
mirrors, shouted with laughter, and conversed animatedly among
themselves. Their attention was attracted by the pigs for a.
moment, but they were immensely amused with the guinea fowls
and turkeys. It was difficulty to persuade them to leave the
vessel. At last they returned to the shore, singing and making
They made a thousand grimaces.
CAPTAIN COOK'S PREDECESSORS.
signs of delight to their countrymen who awaited them on the
On the 17th of December, Wallis signalled the Swallow to head
the squadron for the passage of the Straits of Magellan.
At Port Famine the commander had two tents erected on shore
for the sick, the wood-cutters, and the sailors. Fish in sufficient
quantities for each day's meal, abundance of celery, and acid fruits
similar to cranberries and barberries, were to be found in this
harbour, and in the course of about a fortnight these remedies
completely restored the numerous sufferers from scurvy. The
vessels were repaired and partially calked, the sails were mended,
the rigging, which had been a good deal strained, was overhauled
and repaired, and all was soon ready for sea again.
But Wallis first ordered a large quantity of wood to be cut and
conveyed on board the Prince Frederick, for transport to the
Falkland Isles, where it is not obtainable. At the same time he
had hundreds of young trees carefully dug up, and the roots
covered in their native soil to facilitate their transplantation in
Port Egmont, that in taking root-as there was reason to hope
they would-they might supply the barren archipelago with this
Lastly, the provisions were divided between the Dauphin and
the Swallow. The former taking sufficient for a year, the latter
for ten months.
We will not enlarge upon the different incidents which befell
the two ships in the Straits of Magellan, such as sudden gales,
tempests and snowstorms, irregular and rapid currents, heavy seas
and fogs, which more than once brought the vessels within an
inch of destruction. The Swallow especially, was in such a dilapi-
dated condition, that Carteret besought Wallis to consider his
vessel no longer of any use in the expedition, and to tell him what
course should best be pursued for the public good.
Wallis replied, "The orders of the Admiralty are concise, and
you must conform to them, and accompany the Dauphin as
long as possible. I am aware that the Swallow is a bad sailer; I
will accommodate myself to her speed, and follow her movements,
for it is most important that in case of accident to one of the ships,
the other should be within reach, to give all the assistance in her
48 THE GREAT NAVIGATORS OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
Carteret had nothing to urge in reply, but he augured badly for
the result of the expedition.
As the ships approached the opening of the straits on the
Pacific side, the weather became abominable. A thick fog, falls
of snow and rain, currents which sent the vessels on to the
breakers, a chopping sea, contributed to detain the navigators in
the straits until the 10th of April. On that day, the Dauphin
and Swallow were separated off Cape Pilar, and could not find each
other, Wallis not having fixed a rendezvous in case of separa-
Before we follow Wallis on his voyage across the Pacific,
we will give a short account of the wretched natives of Tierra del
Fuego, and of the general appearance of their country. These
wretches, who were as miserable and debased as possible, subsisted
upon the raw flesh of seals and penguins.
"One of our men," says Wallis, who fished with a line, be-
stowed a live fish, which he had just caught, and which was about
the size of a herring, upon one of these Americans. He took it with
the eagerness of a dog snatching a bone. He commenced opera-
tions by killing the fish with a bite near the gills, and proceeded
to devour it, beginning at the head and finishing at the tail, without
rejecting the bones, fins, scales, or entrails. In fuct, these people
swallowed everything that was offered to them, cooked or un-
cooked, fresh or salt, but they refused all drink but water. Their
sole covering was a miserable seal-skin reaching to the knees.
Their weapons were javelins tipped with a fish-bone. They all suf-
fered from bad eyes, which the English attributed to their custom
of living in smoke to protect themselves from mosquitos. Lastly,
they emitted a most offensive smell, only to be likened to that of
foxes, which doubtless arose from their excessively filthy habits."
Although certainly not inviting, this picture is graphic, as all
navigators testify. It would appear that progress is not possible
to these savages, so nearly allied to brutes. Civilization is a dead
letter to them, and they still vegetate like their forefathers, with
no wish to improve, and with no ambition to attain a more com-
fortable existence. Wallis continues,-
"Thus we quitted this savage and uninhabitable region, where
for four months we had been in constant danger of shipwreck,
where in the height of summer the weather is foggy, cold, and
CAPTAIN COOK'S PREDECESSORS.
stormy, where almost all the valleys are without verdure, and the
mountains without woods, in short where the land which one
can see rather resembles the ruins of a world, than the abode of
Wallis was scarcely, free of the strait, when he set sail west-
ward in spite of dense fogs, and with high wind and such a heavy
sea, that for weeks together there was not a dry corner in the
The constant exposure to damp engendered cold and severe
fevers, to which scurvy shortly succeeded. Upon reaching 320
south latitude, and 1000 west'longitude, the navigator steered due
Upon the 6th of June, two islands were discovered amidst
The ships' boats, well armed and equipped, reached the shore
under command of Lieutenant Furneaux. A quantity of cocoa-
nuts and anti-scorbutic plants were obtained, but although the
English found huts and sheds, they did not meet with a single
inhabitant. This island was discovered on the eve of Whitsunday
and hence received the name Whitsunday.
It is situated in 190 26' south latitude, and 1370 56' west longi-
tude. Like the following islands, it belongs to the Pomotou group.
Next day, the English endeavoured to make overtures to the
inhabitants of another island, but the natives appeared so ill-
disposed and the coast was so steep, that it was impossible to land.
After tacking about all night, Wallis despatched the boats, with
orders not to use violence to the inhabitants if they could avoid it,
or unless absolutely obliged.
As Lieutenant Furneaux approached the land, he was astonished
by the sight of two large pirogues with double masts, in which the
natives were on the eve of embarking.
As soon as they had done so, the English landed, and searched
the island thoroughly. They discovered several pits full of good
water. The soil was firm, sandy, covered with trees, more
especially cocoanut-trees, palm-trees, and sprinkled with anti-
scorbutic plants. The narrative says,-
The natives of this island were of moderate stature. Their
skin was brown, and they had long black hair, straggling over
the shoulders. The men were finely formed, and the women
VOL. II. E
50 THE GREAT NAVIGATORS OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
were beautiful. Some coarse material formed their garment,
which was tied round the waist, and appeared to be intended to
be raised round the shoulders. In the afternoon, Wallis sent the
lieutenant to procure water and to take possession of the island
in the name of King George III. It was called Queen Charlotte's
Island, in honour of the English queen."
After reconnoitring personally, Wallis determined to remain
in this region for a week, in order to profit by the facilities it
afforded for provisioning.
In their walks the English met with working implements
made of shells, and sharpened stones shaped like axes, scissors,
and awls. They also noticed boats in course of construction,
made of boards joined together. But they were most of all as-
tonished at meeting with tombs upon which the dead bodies were
exposed under a sort of awning, and where they putrified in the
When they quitted the island, they left hatchets, nails, bottles,
and other things as reparation for any damage they might have
The 17th century teamed with philanthropic aspirations! And
from the accounts of all navigators one is led to believe that the
theory so much advocated was put into practice upon most occa-
sions. Humanity had made great strides. Difference of colour
no longer presented an insuperable barrier to .a man's being
treated as a brother, and the convention which at the close of the
century ordered the freedom of the black, set a seal to the con-
victions of numbers.
The Dauphin discovered new land, the same day that she left
Queen Charlotte's Island. It lay to the westward, but after cruis-
ing along the coast, "the vessel was unable to find anchorage.
Lying low, it was covered with trees, neither cocoa-nuts nor
inhabitants were to be found, and it evidently was merely a ren-
dezvous for the hunters and fishers of the neighboring islands.
Wallis therefore decided not to stop. It received the name of
Egmont, in honour of Earl Egmont, then chief Lord of the
Admiralty. The following days brought new discoveries.
Gloucester, Cumberland, William, Henry, and Osnaburgh Islands,
were sighted in succession. Lieutenant Furneaux was able to
procure provisions without landing at the last named.
CAPTAIN COOK'S PEIDEOESSORS.
Observing several large pirogues on the beach, he drew the
conclusion that other and perhaps larger islands would be found
at no great distance, where they would probably find abundant
provisions, and to which access might be less difficult. His pre-
vision was right. As the sun rose upon the 19th, the English
sailors were astonished at finding themselves surrounded by pi-
rogues of all sizes, having on board no less than eight hundred
natives. After having consulted together at some distance, 'a
few of the natives approached, holding ,in their hands banana
branches. They were on the point of climbing up the vessels,
when an absurd accident interrupted these cordial relations.
One of them had climbed into the gangway when a goat ran
at him. Turning he perceived the strange animal upon its hind
legs preparing to attack him again. Overcome with terror, he
jumped back into the sea, an example quickly followed by the
others. It recalled the incident of the sheep of Panurge.
Recovering from this alarm, they again climbed into the ship,
and brought all their cunning to bear upon petty thefts. How-
ever, only one officer had his hat stolen. The vessel all the time
was following the coast in search of a fitting harbour, whilst the
boats coasted the shore for soundings.
The English had never found a more picturesque and attrac-
tive country in any of their voyages, On the shore, the huts of
the natives were sheltered by shady woods, in which flourished
graceful clusters of cocoanut-trees. Graduated chains of hills,
with wooded summits, and the silver sheen of rivers glistening
amid the verdure as they found their way to the sea, added to
the beauty of the interior.
The boats sent to take soundings were suddenly surrounded at
the entrance of a large bay by a crowd of pirogues. Wallis, to
avoid a collision, gave the order for the discharge from the swivel
gun above the natives' heads, but although the noise terrified them,
they still continued their approach.
The captain accordingly ordered his boats to make for the shore,
and the natives finding themselves disregarded, threw some sharp
stones which wounded a few sailors. But the captains of the
boats replied to this attack by a volley of bullets, which injured
one of them, and was followed by the flight of the rest.
The Dauphin anchored next day at the mouth of a large river
52 THE GREAT NAVIGATORS OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
in twenty fathoms of water. The sailors rejoiced universally. The
natives immediately surrounded them with pirogues, bringing
pigs, fowls, and various fruits, which were quickly exchanged for
hardware and nails. One of the boats employed in taking sound-
ings, however, was attacked by blows from paddles and sticks,
and the sailors were forced to use their weapons. One native was
killed, a second severely wounded, and the rest jumped into the
water. Seeing that they were not pursued, and conscious that
they themselves had been the aggressors, they returned to traffic
with the Dauphin as if nothing had happened. Upon returning on
board, the officers reported that the natives had invited them to land,
more especially the women, with unequivocal gestures, and that
moreover, there was excellent anchorage near the shore within
reach of water.
The only inconvenience arose from a considerable swell. The
Dauphin accordingly weighed anchor and proceeded into the open
sea to run with the wind, when all at once Wallis perceived a bay
seven or eight miles distant, which he determined to reach. The
captain was soon to experience the truth of the proverb which
asserts that one had better leave well alone.
Although soundings were taken by the boats as they advanced,
the Dauphin struck on a rock and damaged her forepart. The
usual measures in such a case were taken immediately, but outside
the chain of madreporic rocks no depth could be sounded. It was
consequently impossible to cast anchor, or to use the capstan. What
course had best be pursued in this critical situation ? The vessel
beat violently against the rocks, and a host of pirogues waited
in expectation of a shipwreck, eager to clutch their prey. Fortu-
nately at the end of an hour a favourable breeze rising, disengaged
the Dauphin, and wafted her into good anchorage. The damage
done was not serious, and was as easily repaired as forgotten.
Wallis, rendered prudent by the constant efforts of the natives,
divided his men into four parties, one of which was always to be
armed. And he ordered guns to be fired. But after one or two
rounds the number of pirogues increased, and no longer laden with
poultry, they appeared to be filled with stones. The crews of the
larger vessels also were augmented.
All at once upon a given signal a storm of pebbles fell upon the
ship. Wallis ordered a general discharge, and had two guns
The natives waving palm-leaves as a sign of welcome.
CAPTAIN COOK'S PREDECESSORS.
loaded with fine shot. The natives, after some slight hesita-
tion and disorder, returned to the attack with great bravery;
and the captain, noticing the constantly increasing numbers of
the assailants, was not without anxiety as to the result, when an
unexpected event put an end to the contest.
Among the pirogues which attacked the Dauphin most enqr-
getically, was one which appeared to contain a chief, as from
it the signal of attack was given. A well-directed shot cut this
double pirogue in two.
SThis was enough to decide the natives upon retreat. They set
about it so precipitately that in less than half an hour not a single
boat remained in sight. The vessel was then towed into port, and
so placed as to protect the disembarkation. Lieutenant Furneaux
landed at the head of a strong detachment of sailors and marines,
and planting the English flag, took possession of the island in the
name of the King of England, in whose honour it was named
George the Third. The natives called it Tahiti.
After prostrating themselves, and offering various marks of
repentance, the natives appeared anxious to commence friendly and
honest business with the English, but fortunately Wallis, who was
detained on board by severe illness, perceived preparations for a
simultaneous attack by land and sea upon the men sent to find
water. The shorter the struggle the less the loss! Acting upon
which principle, directly the natives came within gunshot range,
a few discharges dispersed their fleet.
To put a stop to these attempts, it was necessary to make an
example. Wallis decided with regret that it was so. He accor-
dingly sent a detachment on shore at once with his carpenters,
ordering them to destroy every pirogue which was hauled up on
the beach. More than fifty, many of them sixty feet long, were
hacked to pieces. Upon this the Tahitians decided to give in
They brought pigs, dogs, stuffs, and fruits to the shore, placed
them there, and then withdrew. The English left in exchange
hatchets and toys which were carried off to the forest with many
Peace was established, and from the morrow a regular and
abundant traffic commenced, which supplied the ships with the
fresh provisions needed, by the crews. There was ground for
hope that these amicable relations would continue during their
54 THE GREAT NAVIGATORS OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
stay in the island, now that the natives had once realized the
power and effect of the strangers' weapons. Wallis, therefore,
ordered a tent to be prepared near the water "supply, and disem-
barked all the sufferers from scurvy, whilst the healthy members of
his company were engaged in repairing the rigging, mending the
sails, and calking and repainting the vessel, putting her, in short,
in a condition fitted for the long journey which was to take her
At this juncture Wallis's illness assumed an alarming character.
The first lieutenant was in hardly better health. All the responsi-
bility of the expedition fell upon Furneaux, who was quite equal
to the task. After a rest of fifteen days, during which the peace
had not been disturbed, Wallis found all his invalids restored to
Provisions, however, became less plentiful. The natives, spoilt
by the abundance of nails and hatchets, became more exacting.
Upon the 15th of July, a tall woman, apparently some forty-
five years of age, of majestic appearance, and who seemed to be
much respected by the natives, came on board the Dauphin.
Wallis at once perceived by the dignity of her deportment, and
the freedom of her manner, peculiar to persons habituated to com-
mand, that she was of high station. He presented her with a
blue mantle, a looking-glass, and other gewgaws, which she
received with an expression of profound contentment. Upon
leaving the vessel she invited the captain to land, and to pay her
a visit. Wallis, although still very weak, did not fail to comply
with this request next day. He was conducted to a large hut,
which covered about 327 feet in: length, and 42 in width. The
roof was constructed of palm leaves and was supported by fifty-
A considerable crowd, collected together by the event, lined the
approach, and received him respectfully. The visit was enlivened
by a comical incident. The surgeon of the vessel, who perspired
greatly from the effects of the walk, to relieve himself took off
his wig. A sudden exclamation from one of the Indians at this
sight, drew general attention to the prodigy, and all fixed their
eyes upon it. The whole assemblage remained perfectly still for
some moments, in the silence of astonishment, which could not
have been greater if they had seen one of our company decapitated.
ZOO I00 130
NLY WE IjA
==== .. .... ---
CAPTAIN COOK'S PREDECESSORS.
Next day, a messenger, sent to convey a present to Queen
Oberoa, in acknowledgment of her gracious reception, found her
giving a feast to several hundred persons.
Her servants carried the dishes to her already prepared, the
meat in cocoa-nut shells, and the shell fish in a sort of wooden
trough, similar to those used by our butchers. She herself dis-
tributed them with her own hands to each of her guests, who were
sitting and standing all round the house. When this was over,
she seated herself upon a sort of raised dais, and two women
beside her gave her her food. They offered the viands to
her in theirfingers; and she had only to take the trouble to open
The consequences of this exchange of civilities were speedily
felt. The market was once more fully supplied with provisions,
although no longer at the same low price as upon the first arrival
of the English.
Lieutenant Furneaux reconnoitred the length of the coast west-
ward, to gain an idea of the island, and to see what it was possible
to obtain from it. The English were everywhere well received.
They found a pleasant country, densely populated, whose inhabi-
tants appeared in no hurry to sell their commodities. All their
working implements were either of stone or of bone, which led
Lieutenant Furneaux to infer that the Tahitians possess no metals.
As they had no earthenware vessels, they had no idea that
water could be heated. They discovered it one day when the
queen dined on board. One of the principal members of her suite,
having seen the surgeon pour water from the boiler into the tea-
pot, turned the tap and received the scalding liquor upon his
hand Finding himself burnt, he uttered most frightful screams,
and ran round the cabin making most extravagant gestures. His
companions, unable to imagine what had happened to him, stared
at him with mingled astonishment and fear. The surgeon hastened
to interfere, but for a long time the poor Tahitian refused to be
Some days later, Wallis discovered that his sailors stole nails to
give them to the native women. They even went so 'far as to
raise the planks of the ship to obtain screws, nails, bolts, and
all the bits of iron which united them to the timbers. Wallis
treated the offence rigorously, but nothing availed, and in spite
56 THE GREAT NAVIGATORS OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
of the precaution he took, of allowing no one to leave the vessel
without being searched, these robberies constantly occurred.
An expedition, undertaken into the interior, discovered a large
valley watered by a beautiful river. Everywhere the soil was
carefully cultivated, and arrangements had been made for watering
the gardens and the fruit plantations. Farther penetrations into
the interior proved the capacious windings of the river; the valley
narrowed, the hills were succeeded by mountains, at every step
the way became more difficult. A peak, distant about six miles
from the place of landing, was climbed, in the hope of thus dis-
covering the entire island, even to its smallest recesses. But the
view was intercepted by yet higher mountains. On the side to-
wards the sea, however, nothing interfered with the magnificent
view which stretched before their gaze, everywhere hills, covered
with magnificent woods, upon whose verdant slopes the huts of
the natives stood out clearly, and in the valleys with their num-
berless cabins, and gardens surrounded by hedges, the scenes were
still more enchanting. The sugar cane, ginger plant, tamarind
and tree ferns, with cocoanut-trees, furnished the principal
resources of this fertile country.
Wallis, wishing to enrich it still more with the productions of
our own climate, caused peach, cherry, and plum stones to be
planted, as well as lemon, orange dnd lime pips, and sowed quan-
tities of vegetable seeds. At the same time he gave the queen a
present of a cat about to kitten, of two cocks, fowls, geese, and
other domestic animals, which he hoped might breed welL
However, time pressed, and Wallis decided to leave. When
he announced his intention to the queen, she threw herself upon
a seat and cried for a long time, with so much grief that it was
impossible to comfort her. She remained upon the vessel up to
the last moment, and as it set sail "embraced us," says Wallis,
"in the tenderest way, weeping plenteously, and our friends the
Tahitians bade us farewell, with so much sorrow, and in so touching
a manner, that I felt heavy-hearted, and my eyes filled with tears."
The uncourteous reception of the English, and the repeated attempts
made by the natives to seize the vessel, would hardly have led
to the idea of a painful separation I However, as the proverb has
it, All's well that ends well !
Of Wallis' observations of the manners and customs of the
H'ead-dresses of natives of Tahiti
(Fac-simile of early engraving.)
CAPTAIN COOK'S PREDECESSORS.
island, we shall only enumerate the few following, as we shall
have occasion to return to them again in relating the voyages
undertaken by Bougainville and Cook.
Tall, well built, active, slightly dark in complexion, the natives
were clothed in a species of white stuff made from the bark of
trees. Two pieces of stuff completed their costume, one was square
and looked like a blanket. The head was thrust through a hole
in the centre, and it recalled the zarapo of the Mexicans, and the
"poncho of the South American Indian. The second piece was
rolled round the body, without being tightened. Almost all, men
and women, tattoo their bodies with black lines close together,
representing different figures. The operation was thus performed :
the pattern was pricked in the skin, and the holes filled with a
sort of paste composed of oil and grease, which left an indelible
Civilization has little advanced. We have already stated that
the Tahitians did not understand earthenware vessels. Wallis,
therefore, presented the queen with a saucepan, which everybody
flocked to inspect with extreme curiosity.
As to religion, the captain found no trace of that! He only
noticed that upon entering certain places, which he took to be
cemeteries, they maintained a respectful appearance, and wore
One of the natives, more disposed than his companions to adopt
English manners, was presented with a complete suit of clothes,
which became him very well. Jonathan-so they had named him,
was quite proud of his iiew outfit. To put the finishing touch to
his manners, he desired to learn the use of a fork. But habit
was too strong for him! his hands always went to his mouth! and
the bit of meat at the end of the fork, found its way to his ear.
It was the 27th of July, when Wallis left the George III.
Island. After coasting Duke of York Island, he discovered
several islands or islets in succession, upon which he did not
touch. For example, Charles Saunders, Lord Howe, Scilly,
Boscawen, and Keppel Islands, where the hostile character of the
natives, and the difficulty of disembarkation prevented his landing.
Winter was now to begin in the southern region. The vessel
leaked in all directions, the stern especially was much strained
by the rudder. Was it wise, under such circumstances, to sail
58 THE GREAT NAVIGATORS OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
for Cape Horn or the Straits of Magellan? Would it not be
running the risk of certain shipwreck ? Would it not be better
to reach Tinian or'Batavia, where repairs were possible, and to
return to Europe by the Cape of Good Hope?
Wallis decided upon the latter course. He steered for the
north-west, and upon the 19th of September, after a voyage
which was too fortunate to supply any incidents, he cast anchor in
the Tinian harbour.
The incidents which marked Byron's stay in this place were
repeated, with far too much regularity. Wallis could not rejoice
over its facilities for provisioning, or the temperature of the country,
any more than his predecessors. But the sufferers from scurvy
recovered in a short time, the sails were mended, and the vessel
calked and repaired, and the crew had the unexpected good for-
tune of catching no fever.
On the 16th October, 1769, the Dauphin returned to sea, but
this time, she encountered a succession of frightful storms, which
tore the sails, reopened the leakage, broke the rudder,-and carried
away the poop with all that was to be found on the forecastle.
However, the Bashees were rounded, and Formosa Strait crossed,
Sandy Isle, Small Key, Long Island, and New Island were re-
cognized, as also, Condor, Timor, Aros, and Pisang, Pulo-Taya,
Pulo-Tote, and Sumatra, before the arrival at Batavia, which took
place upon the 30th of November.
We have already had occasion to mention the localities which
witnessed the completion of the voyage. It is enough to state
that from Batavia, where the crews took the fever, Wallis pro-
ceeded by the Cape, thence to St. Helena, and finally arrived in
the Downs, on the 20th of May, 1768, after six hundred and
thirty-seven days' voyage.
It is to be regretted that Hawkesworth has not reproduced the
instructions Wallis received from the Admiralty. Without know-
ing what they were, we cannot decide whether this brave sailor
carried out the orders he had received au pied de la lettre. We
have seen that he followed with little variation the route traced
by his predecessors, in the Pacific Ocean. In fact, nearly all had
approached by the dangerous archipelago, leaving unexplored
that portion of Oceania, where islands are most numerous, and_
where Cook was later to make such important discoveries.
CAPTAIN COOK'S PREDECESSORS.
Clever as a navigator, Wallis understood how to obtain from a
hasty and incomplete equipment unexpected resources, which enabled
him to bring an adventurous enterprise to a successful close. He
is equally to be honoured for his humanity and the efforts he
made to collect reliable information of the countries he visited.
Had he only been accompanied by special men of science, there is
no doubt that their scientific harvest would have been abundant.
The fault lay with the Admiralty.
We have related how, on the 10th of April, 1767, as the Dauphin
and the Swallow entered the Pacific, the former, carried away by
a strong breeze, had lost sight of the latter, and had been unable
to follow her. This separation was most unfortunate for Captain
Carteret. He knew better than any of his crew the dilapidated
condition of his vessel and the insufficiency of his provisions. In
short, he was well aware that he could only hope to meet the
Dauphin in England, as no plan of operation had been ar-
ranged, and no rendezvous had been named-a grave omission
on Wallis' part, who was aware of the condition of his consort.
Nevertheless, Carteret allowed none of his apprehensions to
come to the knowledge of the crew. At first the detestable
weather experienced by the Swallow upon the Pacific Ocean
(most misleading name), allowed no time for reflection. The
dangers of the passing moment, in which there was every prospect
of their being engulfed, hid from them the perils of the future.
Carteret steered for the north, by the coast of Chili. Upon
investigating the quantity of soft water which he had on board,
he found it quite insufficient for the voyage he had undertaken.
He determined therefore, before setting sail for the west, to take
in water at Juan Fernandez, or at Mas-a-Fuero.
The weather continued wretched. Upon the evening of the
27th a sudden squall was followed by a rising wind, which carried
the vessel straight to the Cape. The violence of the storm failed
to carry away the masts or to founder the ship. The tempest
continued in all its fury, and the sails being extremely wet, clung
round the masts and rigging so closely, that it was impossible to
work them. Next day a sudden wave broke the mizen-mast, just
where there was a flaw in the sail, and submerged the vessels for
a few moments. The storm only abated sufficiently to allow the
crew of the Swallow time to recover a little, and to repair the
60 THE GREAT NAVIGATORS OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
worst damage; then recommended, and continued with violent
squalls until the 7th of May. The wind then became favourable,
and three days later Juan Fernandez was reached.
Carteret was not aware that the Spaniards had fortified this
island. He was, therefore, extremely surprised at seeing a large
number of men upon the shore, and at perceiving a battery of
four pieces on the beach, and a fort, pierced with twenty embrasures
and surmounted by the Spanish flag, upon a hill.
The rising wind prevented an entrance into Cumberland Bay,
and after cruising about for an entire day, Carteret was obliged to
content himself with reaching Mas-a-Fuero. But he met the same
obstacles, and the surge which broke upon the shore interfered
with his operations, and it was only with the utmost difficulty
that he succeeded in shipping a few casks of water. Some of the
crew, who had been forced by the state of the sea to remain on
land, killed guinea fowls enough to feed the entire crew. These,
with the exception of some seals and plenty of fish, were the sole
result of a stay, marked by a succession of squalls and storms,
which constantly placed the ship in danger.
Carteret, who, owing to unfavourable winds, had had several
opportunities of noticing Mas-a-Fuero, corrected many of the errors
in the account of Lord Anson's voyage, and furnished many details
of inestimable use to navigators.
On leaving Mas-a-Fuero, Carteret steered northward in the hope
of meeting the south-eastern trade wind. Carried farther than
he had counted upon, he determined to seek St. Ambrose, and
St. Felix Island, or the 'island of St. Paul. Now that the Span-
iards had taken possession of and fortified Juan Fernandez, those
islands might be of great value to the English in the event of war.
But Mr. Green's charts and the Elements of Navigation "
by Robertson did not tally as to their situation. Carteret, having
most confidence in the latter work, sought for them in the north,
and failed to find them. In re-reading the description given by
Waser, Davis' surgeon, he thought these two islands were
identical with the land met with by that filibuster, in his route to
the south of the Galapagos Islands, and that Davis' Land did not
exist. This caused a double error, that of identifying St. Felix
Island with Davis' Land, and of denying the existence of the
latter, which is in reality Easter Island.
CAPTAIN COOK'S PREDECESSORS.
At this parallel," says Carteret, that is in 18 west from his
point of departure, we had fresh breezes, and a strong northerly
current, and other reasons for conjecturing that we were near Davis'
Land, which we were seeking so carefully. But a stiff breeze
rising again, we steered quarter S.W. and reached 282 southern
latitude, from which it follows that if this land or anything
answering to it exists, I must infallibly have fallen in with it, or
at least have seen it. I afterwards remained in 280 south lati-
tude, and 400 west of my point of departure, and as far as I
can conjecture 1210 west London.
All the navigators combined in insisting upon the existence of
a southern continent. Carteret could not conceive that Davis'
Land was but a small island, a spot lost in the immensity of the
ocean. As he found no continent, he decided upon the non-
existence of Davis' Land. It was precisely in this way that he
Carteret continued his search until the 7th of June. He was in
280 south latitude and 1120 west longitude, that is to say, he
was in the immediate neighbourhood of Easter Island. It was
still the depth of winter. The sea ran continually high, violent
and variable winds, dull, foggy, and cold weather was accompanied
by thunder, rain, and snow. No doubt it was owing to the great
darkness, and to the thick fog, which hid the sun for several days,
that Carteret failed to perceive Easter Island, for many signs,
such as the number of birds, floating seaweeds, &c., announced
the neighbourhood of land.
These atmospheric troubles again retarded the voyage, in
addition to which the Swallow was as bad a sailer as possible,
and one may guess at the weariness, the preoccupation, even the
mental suffering of the captain, who saw his crew on the point of
starvation. But in spite of all, the voyage was continued by day
and night in a westerly direction until the 2nd of July. Upon
this day land was discovered to the north, and on the morrow,
Carteret was sufficiently close to recognize it.' It was only a great
rock five miles in circumference, covered with trees, which appeared
uninhabited, but the swell, so prevalent at this time of year, pre-
vented the vessel coming alongside. It was named Pitcairn, after
the first discoverer. In these latitudes, the sailors, previously in
good health, felt the first attacks of scurvy.
62 THE GREAT NAVIGATORS OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
Upon the 1lth, a new land was seen in 22 southern latitude,
and 1450 34' longitude. It received the name of Osnaburgh in
honour of the king's second son.
Next day Carteret sent an expedition to two more islands,
where neither eatables nor water were found. The sailors caught
many birds in their hands, as they were so tame that they did not
fly at the approach of man.
All these islands belonged to the Dangerous group, a long chain
of low islands, clusters of which were the despair of all navigators,
for the few resources they offered. Carteret thought he recognized
Quiros in the land discovered, but this place, which is called by the
natives Tahiti, is situated more to the north.
Sickness, however, increased daily. The adverse winds, but
especially the damage the ship had sustained, made her progress
very slow. Carteret thought it necessary to follow the route
upon which he was most likely to obtain provisions and the needful
My intention in the event of my ship being repaired," says
Cartaret,." was to continue my voyage to the south upon the
return of a favourable season, with a view.to new discoveries in that
quarter of the world. In fact, I had settled in my own mind, if I
could find a continent where sufficient provisions were procurable,
to remain near its coast until the sun had passed the Equator,
then to gain a distant southern latitude and to proceed westward
towards the Cape of Good Hope, and to return eastward after
touching at the Falkland Islands, should it be necessary, and
thence to proceed quickly to Europe."
These laudable intentions show Carteret to have been a true ex-
plorer, rather stimulated than intimidated by danger, but it
proved impossible to carry them into execution.
The trade wind was only met on the 16th, and the weather re-
mained detestable. Above all, although Carteret navigated in the
neighbourhood of Danger Island, discovered in 1765 by Byron,
and by others, he saw no land.
We probably were close by land," he says, which the fog
prevented our seeing, for in these waters numbers of birds con-
stantly flew round the ship. Commodore Byron in his last voyage
had passed the northern limits of this portion of the ocean, in
which the Solomon Islands are said to be situated, and as I have
CAPTAIN COOK'S PREDECESSORS.
been myself beyond the southern limit without seeing them, I have
good reasons for thinking, that if these islands exist they have been
badly marked on all the charts."
This last supposition is correct, but the Solomon Islands do exist,
and Carteret stopped there a,few days later without recognizing
them. The victuals were now all but consumed or tainted, the rig-
ging and the sails torn by the tempest, half the crew on the sick
list, when a fresh alarm for the captain arose. A leak was reported,
just below the load water-line; it was impossible to stop it, as
long as they were in the open sea. By unexpected good fortune
land was seen on the morrow. Needless to say what cries of
delight, what acclamations followed this discovery. To use Car-
teret's own comparison, the feelings of surprise and comfort ex-
perienced by the crew can only be likened to those of a criminal,
who at the last moment on the scaffold receives a reprieve It
was Nitendit Island, already discovered by Mendana.
No sooner was the anchor cast than landing was hurried, in search
of water supply. The natives were black, with woolly hair, and
perfectly naked. They appeared upon the shore, but fled again
before the boat could come up with them.
The leader of the landing-party described the country as wild,
bristling with mountains and impenetrable forests of trees and
shrubs reaching to the shore itself, through which ran a fine
current of fresh water.
The following day, the master was sent in search of an easier
landing-place, with orders to propitiate the natives, if possible, by
presents. He was expressly enjoined not to expose himself to
danger, to return if several pirogues advanced against him, not to
leave the boat himself, and not to allow more than two men to land
at once, whilst the remainder held themselves on the defensive.
Carteret, at the same time, sent his ship's boat on shore for
water. Some natives attacked it with arrows, which fortunately
hit no one.
Meantime, the sloop regained the Swallow, the master had three
arrows in his body, and half his crew were so dangerously wounded
that three sailors and he himself died a few days later.
This is what had happened. Landing the fifth in succession, in
a spot where he had noticed huts, he entered into friendly traffic
with the natives. The latter soon increased in numbers, and
64 THE GREAT NAVIGATORS OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
several large pirogues advanced towards his sloop, and he was unable
to rejoin it until the very moment when the attack commenced.
Pursued by the arrows of the natives, who waded up to their
shoulders into the water, chased by pirogues, he only succeeded in
escaping after having killed several natives and foundered one of
This effort to find a more favourable spot where he might run
the Swallow ashore, having ended so unfortunately, Carteret
heaved his ship down where he was, and efforts were made to stop
the leak. If the carpenter, the only healthy man on board, did
not succeed in perfectly stopping it, he at least considerably
Whilst a fresh landing for water was sought, the fire of the
guns was directed upon the woods as well as volleys of musketry
from the sloop. Still the sailors worked for a quarter of an hour,
when they were attacked by a shower of arrows which grievously
wounded one or two in the breast. The same measures were
necessary each time they fetched water.
At this juncture, thirty of the crew became incapable of perform-
ing their duty. The master died of his wounds. Lieutenant Gower
was very ill. Carteret himself, attacked by a bilious and inflam-
inatory illness, was forced to keep his bed.
These three were the only officers capable of navigating the
Swallow to England, and they were on the point of succumbing.
To stay the ravages of disease, it was necessary to procure
provisions at all costs, and this was utterly impossible in this spot.
Carteret weighed anchor on the 17th of August, after calling the
island Egmont, in honour of the Lord of the Admiralty, and the
bay where he had anchored, Swallow. Although convinced that it
was identical with the land named Santa Cruz by the Spaniards,
the navigator nevertheless followed the prevailing. mania of giving
new appellations to all the places he visited. He then coasted the
shore for a short distance, and ascertained that the population was
large. He had many a crow to pick with the natives. These
obstacles, and moreover the impossibility of procuring provisions,
prevented Carteret's reconnoitring the other islands of this group,
upon which he bestowed the name of Queen Charlotte.
"The inhabitants of Egmont Isle," he says, "are extremely
agile, active, and vigorous. They appear to live as well in water as
Pursued by the arrows of the natives.
CAPTAIN COOK'S PREDECESSORS.
on land, for they are continually jumping from their pirogues into
the sea. One of the arrows which they sent passed through the
planks of the boat, and dangerously wounded the officer at the
poop in the thigh."
Their arrows are tipped with stone, and we saw no metal of any
kind in their possession. The country in general is covered with
woods and mountains and interspersed with a great number of
On the 18th of August, 1767, Carteret left this group with the
intention of regaining Great Britain. He fully expected to meet
with an island on his passage, where he might be more fortunate.
And on the 20th, he actually did so, discovering a little low
island, which he named Gower, where cocoa-nuts were procurable.
Next day he encountered Simpson and Carteret Islands, and a
group of. new islands which he took to be the Ohang Java, dis-
covered by Tasman; then successively Sir Charles Hardy and
Winchelsea Islands, which he did not consider as belonging to
the Solomon Archipelago, the Island of St. John, so-called by
Schouten, and finally that of New Britain, which he gained on
the 28th of August.
Carteret coasted this island, in search of a safe and convenient port,
and stopped in various bays, where he obtained water, wood,
cocoa, nutmegs, aloes, sugar-canes, bamboos, and palm-cabbages.
"This cabbage," he says, "is white, crisp; of a substance filled
with sugar. Eaten raw, the flavour resembles that of a chestnut,
and boiled it is superior to the best parsnip. We cut it into small
strips, and boiled it in the broth made from our cakes, and this
broth, afterwards thickened with oatmeal furnished us with a good
The wood was all alive with pigeons, turtle-doves, parroquets,
and other unknown birds. The English visited several deserted
If an idea of the civilization of a people can be drawn from
their dwellings, these islanders were on the lowest rung of the social
ladder, for their huts were the most miserable Carteret had ever
The commander profited by his stay in this place, by once
more overhauling the Swallow, and attending to the leak, which
the carpenters doctored as well as they could. The sheathing was
66 THE GREAT NAVIGATORS OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
greatly worn, and the keel quite gnawed away by worms; they
coated it with pitch and warm tar mixed together.
On the 7th of September, Carteret accomplished the ridiculous
ceremony of taking possession of the country in the name of
George III., he then despatched one of his boats upon a recon-
noitring expedition, which returned with a quantity of cocoa and
palm-cablages, most precious provision for the sick on board.
In spite of the fact that the monsoon would soon blow from the
east for a long time, Carteret, alive to the dilapidated condition of
his ship, determined to start for Batavia, where he hoped to make
up his crew, and to repair the Szeallow.
Upon the 9th September, therefore, he left Carteret harbour, the
best which he had met with since leaving the Straits of Magellan.
,He soon penetrated to a gulf to which Dampier had given the
name of St. George Bay, and was not long in reconnoitring for
a strait which separated New Britain and New Ireland. This
passage he found and named St. George. He describes it in his
narrative with a care which should certainly have earned for him
the thanks of all his contemporary navigators. He then followed
the coast of New Ireland to its southern extremity. Near a little
island, which he named Sandwich, Carteret had some dealings with
These natives," he says "are black, and have woolly hair like
negroes, but they have not flat noses or large lips. We imagine
them to be of the same race as the inhabitants of Egmont Island.
Like them they are entirely naked, if we except some ornaments of
shells which they attach to their arms and legs. At the same time,
they have adopted a fashion, without which our fashionable men and
women are not supposed to be perfectly dressed. They powder their
hair or rather the wool on their heads white, from which it. follows
that the fashion of wearing powder is probably of greater antiquity
and of more extended fashion than we would have generally sup-
posed. They are armed with spears and large sticks in the shape
of clubs, but we perceived neither bows nor arrows."
At the south-western extremity of New Ireland Carteret found
another land, to which he gave the name of New Hanover, and
shortly afterwards the group of the Duke of Portland.
Although all this portion of the narrative of his voyage,
in countries unknown before his time, abounds in precious
Is le dL lordt
Map of Queen Charlotte Islands.
(Fac-simile of early engraving.)
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